A Logical Deduction Against The Resurrection

Is the belief in a resurrected human being inherently illogical? 

This was the recent claim of a commenter here at Apologia (let’s call him “Money”).  Since claiming something is illogical requires you to logically show it, I requested a logical deduction from Money.  I was actually surprised when he obliged! 

I think his response is a very common one; one that Christians must know how to respond to. 

His logical deduction for how the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is illogical is as follows:

P1: No dead humans physically rise from the dead. (This is a true premise, unless it can be shown false)
P2: Jesus was a dead human. (True premise)
::: Jesus didn’t rise from the dead. (The conclusion, which must be true when both premises are true).

Right away, red flags should be popping up in the Christian apologists’ mind, saying…

1.  ***Warning!***  Logical Fallacy Being Committed!

P1 is where Moneys’ deduction falls apart.  He is committing a informal logical fallacy called a “special pleading”.  The specific type of special pleading Money is committing is one where he is asking us to accept a premise based upon data that is impossible collect.  That is, in order for Money to know that “No dead humans physically rise from the dead”, Money would have to investigate the deaths of every human being on the face of this planet for all of history past and determine that not a single one of them rose from the dead.

Since this is impossible, P1 is invalid.

(Update:  As Neil pointed out, P1 is also committing an informal logical fallacy called “begging the question”.  If the question is about whether or not a man rose from the dead, how can one of Money’s premises be that people don’t rise from the dead?  That’s a great example of begging the question.  Thanks Neil.)

(Update #2:  A big thanks to Tim Nichols for pointing out something else that I missed.  Money doesn’t even have the Christian claim nailed down correctly.  Christians don’t claim that people rise from the dead all the time.  We claim that it was an unprecedented, earth shattering, paradigm shifting event that happened to someone who wasn’t merely human, but God incarnate.)

2.  A Conclusion Can’t Be a Premise!

P1 is a conclusion from another, unstated, logical deduction.  Since, as we said in point #1, Money’s premise (P1) can’t be known by observable means.  Therefore it must be deduced from other premises.  The deduction to prove P1 would be something like this (remember, we must limit the premises to statements we can know):

P1′:  All human beings die at some point
P2′:  I have never seen a human being come back alive
:::  Human beings don’t rise from the dead

See how even that doesn’t even work?  All I can say, rationally, is that I’ve never seen a human being rise from the dead.  It doesn’t follow then, that I can know that no human being has ever risen from the dead or that humans just don’t rise from the dead, as a rule.  The conclusion just doesn’t follow.

3.  The Onus of Proof Is on the One Making the Statement

Referring to P1, Money says,

“This is a true premise, unless it can be shown false.”

This is not how a logical premise works.  We can’t consider a premise true just because it can’t be proven false.  Another way to word Money’s statement is, “Since my premise can’t be shown to be false, therefore it is true.”  That would be like saying, “The existence of a one eyed, pink unicorn can’t be proven false, therefore one exists.”  It just doesn’t follow.

An Anti-Supernatural Bias

Money then switches gears and begins to attack the logic behind a belief in the Resurrection.

Money says:

With trying to prove that Jesus was Resurrected, you have to prove, logically, the  supernatural events can occur within the laws of nature.

Says who?  Who says that Christ’s Resurrection must happen in the bounds of nature?  Money has decided, without reason, that the supernatural must happen within the bounds of nature.  Money has decided what God can and cannot do.  Money is making a theological argument here, one that he has no support for. 

Money then makes another unscientific, theological assertion (regarding the above statement):

…which is a logical contradiction since that which is observed in the natural world is/must be natural, and therefore not supernatural.

Do you see what he just did?  It’s a perfect argument.  Money is saying that the only phenomena that can happen are natural phenomena, therefore the supernatural doesn’t happen.  Another unscientific, theological argument.  Surely a scientific experiment, or a logical deduction, didn’t tell Money that ONLY natural phenomena take place.  Since it’s not from science or logic, how can Money know such a thing? 

Money goes on:

You need to logically show how that Jesus was capable of such a feat. It isn’t logical because it is bound contradictions and unverified truth claims.

Well that, Money, I can do.  Even if you take the Bible as a mere story, Jesus is God Himself in that story.  Is not God capable of raising the dead?

The ironic part is that Money claims the Resurrection must be subject to “verified truth claims” in order be believed.  The hypocrisy of this statement is two fold:

1.  The Gospel accounts, Acts, and a few of the Pauline Epistles are the account of verifiable, undisputed eyewitnesses to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Why doesn’t he believe their eyewitness testimony?

2.  Every statement Money has made so far is an unverified truth claim.  “Dead people absolutely don’t rise from the dead,” and “only natural phenomena happen” are my two favorites.  It’s the pot calling the kettle “black”.

Excluding something at the outset without reason, as Money has done with the supernatural, betrays a bias that renders the discussion pointless until the bias is removed.

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31 Comments on “A Logical Deduction Against The Resurrection”

  1. Neil Says:

    Well said. Doesn’t P1 also beg the question? If the question is whether humans can rise from the dead, how can his premise be that people don’t rise from the dead?

  2. Eric Kemp Says:

    Hey! That’s right. Good call. Perhaps I’ll add that to the post.

  3. Doulos Says:

    Not mention the fact that P2 is called into question. Those who believe that Christ rose from the dead don’t believe that Christ was merely a human, but rather a divine AND a human nature which both inhabited the same body. So, the argument falls apart there too.

  4. Tim Nichols Says:

    Eric,

    Nicely done. On the matter of question-begging, I’d want to add that Money has also missed the point about Jesus’ identity. The Christian argument is that Jesus is fully human, but also unique in that He is the prototype of a new humanity. To begin by arguing that Jesus can’t have risen because nobody else has is simply to miss the point. Nobody was suggesting that it happens all the time and Jesus is just another instance. If it wasn’t alarming, even world-altering, there wouldn’t be any point to it.

    I think you ought to give props to Money, though, for being perhaps a bit more biblical than he realized. The argument he’s using is exactly the argument that Saint Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 15 to show that the dead do, in fact, rise.

    Of course, Paul’s using it as an inverse proof.

    Heh.

  5. Price Says:

    Eric, while I’m flattered you’ve taken my argument seriously, it is also quite obvious you are not very educated in logic and informal logic. The logical syllogism you originally quote is Aristotelian logic; but you accuse me of an informal logic error. Needless to say, “special pleading” does not apply.

    Informal logic is not formal logic, and therefore your accusation merely exhibits your ignorance of logic in general. Special pleading is when a conclusion is made that only seems justified because the person stating the argument is appealing to the conclusion. For example: I know stealing is wrong, but you don’t know what it is like to starve, so it’s okay for me to steal to survive. The reason why this is a fallacy is because it (1) doesn’t show why stealing because you are starving justifies the action, and (2) stealing doesn’t necessary follow from the fact that you are starving.

    Now, on to the claim that my syllogism is begging the question. Again, begging the question is an informal fallacy, and in no way whatsoever does my syllogism reflect begging the question. Begging the question is the name for a circular argument. The following statement is a circular argument (begging the question): Things are good because God says they are good; we know that what God says is good is good because God is good. This argument is fallacious because it fails to define good. “Begging the question” fallacies result in meaningless conclusions; that is, they beg the question, in this case, of what is good.

    Now, to my syllogism. In formal logic, a logical is validated when the conclusion necessarily follows from the premises. I presented the syllogism to you as an example of how one might logically conclude that Jesus did not rise from the dead. Formal logic follows an “if the premises are true, then the conclusion must be true” rule. It should be noted that for each premise I give, it follows that if it is true that no dead humans are humans that rise from the dead and, if it is true Jesus was a dead human; then it is necessarily true that Jesus did not rise from the dead. The argument is not circular (and therefore not begging the question), and the argument is not special pleading because it shows how the conclusion necessarily follows from the premises.

    I’m disappointed because I thought you were more intellectually engaging than this Eric, but it is obvious now that you needed to find a way to seemingly disprove my argument, so you looked up on the internet or somewhere for a logical fallacy. Unfortunately, and quite ironically, you’ve committed an informal logical fallacy of your own: irrelevant thesis, also known as a red herring. You’ve managed to make an argument against mine using premises that are irrelevant or inapplicable to the topic at hand.

  6. dwilli58 Says:

    Eric,

    Great response article! Price’s sour-grape reply to you makes me wonder if discussing these issues, with those who refuse to believe, is of any value to them. It may be of value to others listening, and perhaps, this is our reason to continue?

    If we believe as Paul in Romans 8,

    And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. (vs. 28-30)

    then we must admit that some are not called in this age? Perhaps this is true of Price and he will never experience this truth now?

    And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4: 3-4)

    I guess what I’m asking here is, does there come a time when we “kick the dust from our sandals and move on?”

  7. Eric Kemp Says:

    Price

    Instead of answering my charge of special pleading and begging the question, and showing how they are not in your particular deduction, you merely say, “No they’re not, and you don’t know what you’re talking about.” You offer no argument in rebuttal except to repeat your syllogism. You can say it’s if it was true all you want but you’ve now moved goalposts. Your original position wasn’t to say if it was true, your original position was that the Resurrection IS inherently illogical. So you’ve committed another informal fallacy.

    Special pleading is when a conclusion is made that only seems justified because the person stating the argument is appealing to the conclusion.

    I’ve never heard that definition of special pleading before. In fact, it’s not even close to how I’ve heard it used or explained. Since wikipedia is the easiest way, I’ll link their definition of special pleading, which is how it was defined for me many years ago in my logic class, and perhaps you can show me where you you got your definition, because I’d truly like to know if I’m using it incorrectly. Either way, your special pleading definition argument is a red herring because doesn’t take away from the fact that your original P1 is based upon data that can’t be collected. Even if I got the name of the fallacy wrong, it doesn’t change that a fallacy was committed. A point you didn’t respond to.

    I’m not even going to respond to the “begging the question” argument because you did not respond to the claim either. Your deduction literally said, “Jesus didn’t rise from the dead because dead humans don’t rise from the dead”. If this isn’t circular and begging the question, then I don’t know what is.

    The point of showing these fallacies was only to show that you have an anti-supernatural bias. It’s this bias you used throughout your other response to me, and until this bias is removed there is no point in continuing this conversation.

  8. Price Says:

    Instead of answering my charge of special pleading and begging the question, and showing how they are not in your particular deduction, you merely say, “No they’re not, and you don’t know what you’re talking about.” You offer no argument in rebuttal except to repeat your syllogism. You can say it’s if it was true all you want but you’ve now moved goalposts. Your original position wasn’t to say if it was true, your original position was that the Resurrection IS inherently illogical. So you’ve committed another informal fallacy.

    Look Eric, it’s simple: Informal Logic is not Formal Logic; informal fallacies deal with informal logic. As opposed to formal logic, informal logic is not a matter of argumentative forms, rather it is nonformal arguments (not P1, P2, thus C). So, your informal logical fallacies do not apply to formal logic. Got it? It’s so simple its mind-blowing. So, I stand my statement: Begging the question and special pleading do not apply to formal logic!

    Secondly all formal logic, including the Aristotelian logic syllogism you are attacking, premises are if true, then it necessarily follows statements. They are only invalidated by incorrect formality, categorical contradiction, categorical contraries, as well as the cross categorical formalities.

    Thirdly, the Wikipedia article explanation is just a better explanation than what I gave, but same nonetheless. Wikipedia: “a form of spurious argumentation where a position in a dispute introduces favorable details or excludes unfavorable details by alleging a need to apply additional considerations without proper criticism of these considerations themselves. Essentially, this involves someone attempting to cite something as an exemption to a generally accepted rule, principle, etc. without justifying the exemption.” I said, “when a conclusion is made that only seems justified because the person stating the argument is appealing to the conclusion.” Essentially, my definition means: the special pleading argument is one that is devised such that it appeals to the conclusion; to say appeal to the conclusion — my right to steal because I am starving, and you don’t know what it is like to starve — is the same as saying “setting up introducing favorable details,” details which are “you don’t understand the situation which justifies that my stealing” and “starving justifies stealing.”

    As for begging the question, once again, “Jesus didn’t rise from the dead because dead humans don’t rise from the dead” (your wording is not begging the question and it isn’t circular. Is the statement: “Dog are animals because all mammals are animals” circular? No. That statement is represented by the AAA-I syllogism: P1: All dogs are mammals. P2: All mammals are animals; hence, C: All dogs are animals.

    My syllogism is an EIE: P1: No dead humans rise from the dead (it can also be worded, no dead humans are humans that rise from the dead); P2: Jesus is a dead human; hence, C: Jesus did not rise from the dead.

    A proper formal syllogism has at least three categories (picture a venn diagram and the conclusion is the middle part). In my argument I have category 1: Dead humans, category 2: Humans that rise from the dead; and category 3: Jesus Christ. As my argument shows: the category dead humans and the category Jesus overlap (in logic 1, you put a check in the overlapping area of the two circles). Humans that rise from the dead, which meets both circles, receives an X in the cojoining area because the statement says: No dead humans are humans that rise from the dead. Jesus cannot positively be in both categories, so where Jesus overlaps “humans that rise from the dead,” you put an X as well. It is the simplest logical syllogism I can imagine. Pull out a piece of paper and draw it my friend.

  9. Price Says:

    Excuse me, my syllogism is an EAE-1

  10. Doulos Says:

    Price. Where your argument fails is premise 2. It is not a true premise and so the conclusion is false.

  11. Doulos Says:

    At least it is not true in regards to the Jesus that Christians refer to when they say that Jesus rose from the dead.

  12. Eric Kemp Says:

    Price

    It has become obvious that you can easily school me in the structure of a logical argument.

    It’s also become obvious that you have no desire to talk about the topic, or the fallacies you did commit. You want to move goalposts, argue semantics, and talk about logic and my lack of understanding of it. That’s fine, but since the conversation has now switched gears so drastically, I have no desire to continue it.

    I wasn’t under the impression that you could committ any kind of informal fallacy in formal logic and it “doesn’t count”. Oh well, I guess whatever helps you to keep believing what you want to believe, and defining words how you would like to define them, and holding on to whatever bias you want to hold on to.

    You’re a cordial, intelligent guy Price. I always enjoy crossing arguments with you, because it is always a challenge. However, I hope and pray that one day you see that your tactics in argument aren’t to discover or defend the truth of your own position, but merely to win the argument.

  13. Eric Kemp Says:

    Dave

    “Price’s sour-grape reply to you makes me wonder if discussing these issues, with those who refuse to believe, is of any value to them. It may be of value to others listening, and perhaps, this is our reason to continue?”

    I think there does come a time when we move on. However, I think you’re right about this. Our purpose, along with reaching those who are searching, should be to help our brothers and sisters defend the faith. Perhaps those who are reading will be encouraged and edified. That is my hope and prayer anyway.

  14. Neil Says:

    Wow, Price has a lot of nerve. You annihilated his lousy arguments then he comes in with that nonsense? Pathetic.

    Price, you should have just gone away quietly. Though I suppose it is useful to have such desperation documented so thoroughly.

  15. Eric Kemp Says:

    Neil

    Yea, I was honestly looking forward to discussing Price’s anti-supernatural bias.

  16. Angela Who Says:

    wow! Eric, you’ve been busy I’ll be back to read all these lovely blogs later. You could do with adding the categories widgets, for your viewers so we don’t miss any of these. `’ nudge nudge`’…

  17. Price Says:

    “It has become obvious that you can easily school me in the structure of a logical argument.

    It’s also become obvious that you have no desire to talk about the topic, or the fallacies you did commit. You want to move goalposts, argue semantics, and talk about logic and my lack of understanding of it. That’s fine, but since the conversation has now switched gears so drastically, I have no desire to continue it.”

    Eric, you don’t understand. It’s not merely a formality that informal logic does not apply to logic. Rather, it is that it fundamentally does not apply to formal logic; it doesn’t make sense to say that I committed an informal fallacy when it isn’t informal logic. But, I have every right to defend myself when you take an argument of mine, post it, and falsely accuse me of poor arguments. I will defend myself, and hope that I can show you and all those who want to believe what you say about such an argument, that your method is incorrect. In fact, Doulos is the only one that adequately attacks a premise; surprisingly, however, you did not attack the single claim that I would expect you to attack: that Jesus was a human (or that he, somehow, is excluded from the concluding category).

    “I wasn’t under the impression that you could committ any kind of informal fallacy in formal logic and it “doesn’t count”. Oh well, I guess whatever helps you to keep believing what you want to believe, and defining words how you would like to define them, and holding on to whatever bias you want to hold on to.”

    See, you ad hominem your way through arguments man. It isn’t what “helps me to keep believing what I want to believe;” I was just showing you how one could logically deduce that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead!

    “You’re a cordial, intelligent guy Price. I always enjoy crossing arguments with you, because it is always a challenge. However, I hope and pray that one day you see that your tactics in argument aren’t to discover or defend the truth of your own position, but merely to win the argument.”

    I will concede a point when it is due, and I have many a times. Why do you think I come to your blog? You argue/support a perspective opposite of mine. I believe in intellectual honesty and think it is important that I test my perspective against those opposite of it. Not so I can learn how best to defend my position, but to gain valuable insights. I do not believe I am always right. I have been wrong, and it is important to me that I learn when my argument, my perspective, is neglectful and/or blind of valid information and points. I like to be able to see what I have not seen before.

    Of course, I will argue you to the bone, usually as a devil’s advocate, but also as an attempt to learn more about your perspective and develop my own. I don’t quit or scurry for anything to help me win and make my opponent look stupid; I value good, long, and intensive discussions, especially when every point relevant to the discussion is exhausted.

    And, on top of that, I can only hope that you learn from the arguments as well. It isn’t game, it’s an important debate that can yield new information to both of us.

    Neil: Wow, Price has a lot of nerve. You annihilated his lousy arguments then he comes in with that nonsense? Pathetic.

    Price, you should have just gone away quietly. Though I suppose it is useful to have such desperation documented so thoroughly.

    I probably shouldn’t address this, but why are my arguments lousy and why is my rebuttal nonsense? What desperation am I exhibiting?

  18. Price Says:

    And Eric, I posted on the other discussion why I have a ‘anti-supernatural bias.’

    I’ll state it again: If the natural world is the empirical, phenomenal world, then that which is ‘supernatural’ cannot be. Something cannot be ‘beyond’ nature, in the exclusive sense of the category of nature, and interact within the natural world. The reason why is because the event which we call supernatural that occurs in the natural world becomes “natural.” Therefore we either reevaluate our understanding of the natural world, which happens quite regularly (consider quantum mechanics, relativity, etc) or discover an explanation for the event via already existing physics.

    My point is, something cannot be absolutely ‘supernatural’ yet interact in the physical, nature category of the world.

  19. Price Says:

    I should also note something about my syllogism. I consulted my former logic professor (look what you made me do Eric) and he confirmed the arguments validity. He did say, however, “The key issue is probably whether the first premise is true, and hence
    whether the argument is sound in addition to being valid.”

    So, there we go.

  20. Doulos Says:

    But you will not address my rejection of your second premise? There’s a different been valid and true. If I were to say something like:

    I have a black steam boat.
    Block objects cause rashes.
    Therefore I have a rash

    Is a perfectly valid argument. Though obviously not true.

  21. Neil Says:

    I probably shouldn’t address this, but why are my arguments lousy and why is my rebuttal nonsense? What desperation am I exhibiting?

    Just re-read the post and my comment about your question begging. If you think you can dodge criticism with your formal / informal spiel then you are fooling yourself.

  22. Eric Kemp Says:

    Price

    I want to be able to spend the time to give your responses, and my recent comments to you, the time and explanation that they deserve. I have a busy weekend ahead of me and may not be able to get to you for a few days (I may have some time tomorrow morning though). Please, stay with me and I will get back to you, thanks for your patience.

    Eric

  23. Price Says:

    But you will not address my rejection of your second premise? There’s a different been valid and true. If I were to say something like:

    I have a black steam boat.
    Block objects cause rashes.
    Therefore I have a rash

    Is a perfectly valid argument. Though obviously not true

    Well, no Doulos, that isn’t a valid argument, and I’ll tell you why: the conclusion, that you have a rash, does not follow from the fact that black objects cause rashes and you happen to own a black steam boat. In order to show that you have a rash because you have a black steam boat, you have to show that a black steam boat is in the category of “black objects.” So, it should look more like this: P1: The black steam boat I own is a black object (we put it in the category); P2: All black objects are objects that cause rashes; Con: the black steam boat I own is an object that causes rashes.

    Then, you take the Con as the major premise of the next syllogism: P1: the black steam boat I own is an object that causes rashes. P2: All objects that cause rashes are objects that give me a rash; Con: The black steam boat I own is an object that gives me a rash.

    So, as for the truth value of the premises my syllogism, I must have the first premise be true for the syllogism to be sound. And, I must concede the point, I’m not sure how to show that. But, if it is true, then I must also show that the second premise is true. And, as I have been attacked on here, I don’t know if I can show that either. But, it does provide an argument, or a look, as to how one might deduce that it is impossible or illogical that Jesus rose from the dead. That is, if the premises are true, it necessarily follows that the conclusion must be true.

  24. Price Says:

    Just re-read the post and my comment about your question begging. If you think you can dodge criticism with your formal / informal spiel then you are fooling yourself.

    I didn’t dodge the criticism. I think you must have overlooked the two posts where I addressed that claim. Here it is again,

    First post:

    Again, begging the question is an informal fallacy, and in no way whatsoever does my syllogism reflect begging the question. Begging the question is the name for a circular argument. The following statement is a circular argument (begging the question): Things are good because God says they are good; we know that what God says is good is good because God is good. This argument is fallacious because it fails to define good. “Begging the question” fallacies result in meaningless conclusions; that is, they beg the question, in this case, of what is good . . .It should be noted that for each premise I give, it follows that if it is true that no dead humans are humans that rise from the dead and, if it is true Jesus was a dead human; then it is necessarily true that Jesus did not rise from the dead. The argument is not circular (and therefore not begging the question), and the argument is not special pleading because it shows how the conclusion necessarily follows from the premises.

    Second post:

    As for begging the question, once again, “Jesus didn’t rise from the dead because dead humans don’t rise from the dead” (your wording[, it is] not begging the question and it isn’t circular). Is the statement: “Dog are animals because all mammals are animals” circular? No. That statement is represented by the AAA-I syllogism: P1: All dogs are mammals. P2: All mammals are animals; hence, C: All dogs are animals . . . My syllogism is an [EAE-I] : P1: No dead humans rise from the dead (it can also be worded, no dead humans are humans that rise from the dead); P2: Jesus is a dead human; hence, C: Jesus did not rise from the dead.

    After that, I go on to explain how the categories facilitate a valid syllogism. If I were begging the question, the syllogism would, well, not exist, and it certainly would not be valid.

  25. Neil Says:

    Price, you assumed what you were trying to prove. Formal or informal, you proved nothing. For you to bring up the formal / informal distinction after your ridiculous argument was annihilated and act like everyone is an idiot for not inferring the distinction was just silly (and that assumes that your argument works even according to your criteria, which it doesn’t). I’d cut your losses if I were you and stop defending the indefensible.

  26. Eric Kemp Says:

    Price

    First, I want to say that I understand what you’re saying. Informal logic just doesn’t apply to the structure and validity of a formal logic syllogism. I get that, I promise I do. I took a logic class early in my university studies, so it’s been awhile, but I retained some of the information and the main issue with formal logic is the validity of it’s structure. From what I remember, the proving of formal logic uses it’s own symbols, but it’s very math like.

    Secondly, I agree with you. The structure of your syllogism is valid under formal logic in the “if…then” sense.

    However, my point to you is this; the above arguments you’ve made are
    1. A massive red herring to our discussion
    and
    2. You moved goalposts miles away from where you began your argument.

    Since I want to be thorough, let’s recap a bit so I can explain points 1 and 2. We were discussing faith. Particularly, the difference between faith and assumptions. Your stated position was that assumptions can be rational but faith “cannot be rational”. To this affect, you made the statement that spawned my post. You said:

    “Jesus rising from the dead (even if it did happen) is an irrational concept because it doesn’t follow from the principles of rational deduction.”

    I asked you to provide a logical/rational deduction in defence the statement that Jesus’ resurrection can’t be rational. You produced the syllogism that I responded to in my post. I pointed out a few informal fallacies you committed in order to show that your syllogism wasn’t rational. Since rationality was what we were discussing in the first place, showing the irrationality of your argument was my stated goal.

    Now, back to point #1: instead of directly responding to the charges of irrationality in your syllogism, you began to argue formal logic vs. informal logic. In fact, your only response to the begging the question point was merely an example of what begging the question is, not how your P1 is not begging the question. In fact, using the structure of your own example of begging the question I showed how your “Humans don’t rise from the dead therefore Jesus didn’t rise from the dead” is circular in the same way. In response to this, you switched back to formal logic. When I point out an informal logical fallacy to you, you say it doesn’t apply, then when you do respond to the informal fallacy, you use formal logic. You can’t have it both ways. Either formal logic applies to informal, or it doesn’t. If I can’t use informal logic to point out flaws in your formal syllogism, you can’t use formal logic to defend an informal fallacy.

    To summarize point #1: You and I were discussing rationality. My stated goal in my article was to show the irrationality of your argument, not the validity of your syllogism. You started the red herring when you switched our discussion from the rationality of an argument to the validity of a syllogism.

    Ok, on to point #2: As I alluded to and quoted; throughout the first half of this discussion you made absolute statements along the lines of “Jesus’ Resurrection is inherently irrational” and “faith is inherently irrational”. Then, in response to my article, you stated that the syllogism was an “if…then” proposition, that you are merely attempting to show how the impossibility of resurrection “could be” logically proved. Like I said, I’m sure this is true. However, this is was not your position at the beginning, not even close. You have moved goalposts.

    So, in order for you to understand my ad hominem attack, you must understand that I’m attempting to explain what it looks like when some one’s absolute statements are shown to be irrational and they respond with “yea well, I was just saying IF”, when the IF was never expressed before. It seems disingenuous. A tactical move to win an argument and to keep believing that your logic isn’t irrational. I truly hope I’m wrong, and that you see the irrationality of moving goalposts, so we can get back to discussing the rationality of making absolute statement about the supernatural. Or, best case scenario, you realize that your anti-supernatural bias causes any logical argument that stems from it to be irrational.

    What I want to get out of this comment is something you already alluded to. When you said you asked your professor, and he confirmed the structural validity of your syllogism, a point that was never in contention, you admitted: He did say, however, “The key issue is probably whether the first premise is true, and hence whether the argument is sound in addition to being valid.”

    Price, this is the point. Your belief system does not rest upon formal logic. It rests upon what you think is true, and what you think is true is greatly shaped by your presuppositions (starting assumptions). For instance, your admitted supernatural bias. In order for your syllogism to be a rational argument (not a valid formal logic construction), your premises must be rational. They are not.

    You said that you concede a point when it is needed. I hope you see that this is one of those times. My true hope is to further discuss the reasons for, the rationality of, and the epistemological basis of your anti-supernatural bias.

  27. Doulos Says:

    Price: my argument -was- valid. Assuming the premises were true, that conclusion would be correct. What you mean to say is that my argument is not cogent or sound, because the premises are in fact, not true.

    This is why your argument is valid, but false from a Christian perspective. For Christians, Jesus was not just a regular human being. So, with the second premise false, the conclusion is also false.

  28. Price Says:

    Now, back to point #1: instead of directly responding to the charges of irrationality in your syllogism, you began to argue formal logic vs. informal logic. In fact, your only response to the begging the question point was merely an example of what begging the question is, not how your P1 is not begging the question. In fact, using the structure of your own example of begging the question I showed how your “Humans don’t rise from the dead therefore Jesus didn’t rise from the dead” is circular in the same way. In response to this, you switched back to formal logic. When I point out an informal logical fallacy to you, you say it doesn’t apply, then when you do respond to the informal fallacy, you use formal logic. You can’t have it both ways. Either formal logic applies to informal, or it doesn’t. If I can’t use informal logic to point out flaws in your formal syllogism, you can’t use formal logic to defend an informal fallacy…Ok, on to point #2: As I alluded to and quoted; throughout the first half of this discussion you made absolute statements along the lines of “Jesus’ Resurrection is inherently irrational” and “faith is inherently irrational”. Then, in response to my article, you stated that the syllogism was an “if…then” proposition, that you are merely attempting to show how the impossibility of resurrection “could be” logically proved. Like I said, I’m sure this is true. However, this is was not your position at the beginning, not even close. You have moved goalposts.

    I respond to the informal fallacy by showing how it cannot/does not apply to a formal syllogism. I unpacked the categorical nature of syllogistic logic, while also providing an example of a fallacious informal statement (good being based on God cannot be expressed in a syllogistic form because it is circular). The claim “humans don’t rise from the dead” is not a premise supported by only itself. A logical syllogism could be produced to show that it is not circular. I won’t express it now because it is ultimately beside the point; that is, that I did not show how the claim: Jesus rising from the dead (even if it did happen) is an irrational concept because it doesn’t follow from the principles of rational deduction. I have since, admittingly, backtracked because the first premise has to be shown true. I’ll admit I am at fault when I provided an irrational syllogism; thus, yes, I committed a red-herring. Nevertheless, I do maintain that it does not follow that because Jesus rose from the dead, Jesus is the Son of God or that Christ saved humanity from sin.

    Price, this is the point. Your belief system does not rest upon formal logic. It rests upon what you think is true, and what you think is true is greatly shaped by your presuppositions (starting assumptions). For instance, your admitted supernatural bias. In order for your syllogism to be a rational argument (not a valid formal logic construction), your premises must be rational. They are not.

    Granted. And, a question for further discussion: is the supernatural equal to the natural world? That is, what is the fundamental value of knowledge when we assess the natural and/or supernatural world. Is the value the same? If not, why presume the supernatural world maintains more truth than the immediately observable natural world? Furthermore, do we have access to the truth of the supernatural world? And, vice verse

  29. Eric Kemp Says:

    Price

    It takes a honest man to admit when he has strayed from the topic and committed fallacies in the process. I’ve only run into a handful of people willing to do so and I applaud you for it. The benefit for both of us is that now our conversation can move on and become even more productive than it was.

    “Nevertheless, I do maintain that it does not follow that because Jesus rose from the dead, Jesus is the Son of God or that Christ saved humanity from sin.”

    To clarify, it seems that you are granting the Biblical account of Christs’ Resurrection on a hypothetical basis, but not the Biblical conclusion of that Resurrection, namely that Jesus is God or that He is needed to save humanity. Do I have that right?

    Ok, I’ll assume that I do and we can back track if you object.

    So, some questions regarding that position. Are you merely hypothetically granting the historical fact of a resurrection but NOT what Jesus claimed about Himself, or what the Old Testament said about Him, or what the apostles said about Him? And if so, why not? What reason do you have to separate the Biblical account of the Resurrection from the Biblical account of what that Resurrection means?

    “And, a question for further discussion: is the supernatural equal to the natural world? That is, what is the fundamental value of knowledge when we assess the natural and/or supernatural world. Is the value the same? If not, why presume the supernatural world maintains more truth than the immediately observable natural world? Furthermore, do we have access to the truth of the supernatural world? And, vice verse “

    These are some great questions Price, just the sort of thing I wanted to talk about. I want to dedicate a post to it so I can give my full argument in a better setting, since explaining how your questions assume a few things at the outset will take some space. Feel free to answer my questions about the Resurrection however. I’ll get that post up as soon as I can.

    Thanks for your patience

  30. Neil Says:

    Price, kudos to you for your clarificaton and my sincere apologies for being a jerk in my last comment.

    Eric, nicely done — you are a good ambassador.

  31. Eric Kemp Says:

    Let me also add, Price, that I have not always been willing to admit where I’ve gone wrong in an argument, so you’re an example even to me.


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