@annihilist from Twitter made the comment; “Knowing the topic isn't the same as knowing the content.”
Annihilist and I were tweeting about what has become known as “TAG” or in full, The Transcendental Argument for the Existence of God. Matt Slick’s TAG is seemingly the one which gets a lot of attention by atheists claiming to have refuted it. During our tweeting, Annihilist tweeted, “Refutation of this apologist argument.” that included this link: http://atheistexperience.blogspot.com/2009/02/slick-transcendental-argument.html which is to “The Atheist Experience” website to an article posted by Don Baker titled, “The Slick Transcendental Argument.” Annihilist said that this article is the refutation of TAG.
After my internet access started working again, I was actually able to go to “The Atheist Experience” and read the article. I also did a search and found another website which the author of another article stated that he too had refuted TAG. This one is by someone who goes by the name, Godlessons and its title is, “Matt Slick attempts to answer my refutation of TAG” http://godlessons.com/2010/02/19/matt-slick-attempts-to-answer-my-refutation-of-tag
I’m no expert on logic or for that matter not much of an expert on anything at all. There is however a special gift that I have from God which helps me cut to the bottom of things and get to the truth. So let’s see if I can get to the truth of these TAG refutations.
Let’s go over my findings of these two self-claimed repudiations of TAG. Let’s start with the article from “The Atheist Experience” as this is the one Annihilist sent to me.
Don Baker, the author of this article wrote, “…there is no such thing as a ‘moment of conception’ as Christian propagandists would have you believe.” This is an axiom being made by the author about the conception of a baby. Prior to his making this statement about conception, he wrote, “Axioms are assumptions (made by humans) that may not be applicable in all situations.” From Wikipedia, an axiom is defined; “In traditional logic, an axiom or postulate is a proposition that is not proved or demonstrated but considered to be either self-evident, or subject to necessary decision. Therefore, its truth is taken for granted, and serves as a starting point for deducing and inferring other (theory dependent) truths.” Here I find fault in Don Baker’s logic. In the axiom that Don Baker made about there not being a “moment of conception” he is overlooking that there had to be a beginning at some point in time during the process for he and I to have become him and me because Don and I are now not in the process of conception. From Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary, conception is defined with regard to babies as follows: 1b: the process that occurs within a woman's body when she becomes pregnant ▪ the moment of conception.
Another flaw which is even more critical I find in Don Baker’s logic within his article stems from his writing, “It is true that humans invented it [logic], but machines can carry it [logic] out.” He states proof of machines being able to carry out logic through theorem provers and points specifically to the famous ‘four color problem’ being “solved by a computer before it was solved by a human.” Here Don Baker’s logic excluded humans being the ones who designed, built, and programmed the computer to perform their calculations which solved the four color problem. If a human had not designed, built, and programmed a computer; for one, the computer would still not exist because they don’t just evolve from silicon to be a computer on their own with full programming built into them; and two, the computer would not have been able to properly execute its program which was logically thought out and carefully written by humans to perform and be theorem provers. Thus Don Baker’s logic is flawed when he asserts that minds are not necessary to apply logic when the truth is that minds are indeed necessary to apply logic. Don Baker goes from there being no computer to there being a computer to it doing complex logic operations without there having been any human component in the design and creation of and programming of the computer by humans. So the truth isn’t that as Don Baker implies that the computer evolved on its own into a machine which can perform logic calculations without human intervention. The truth is, is that humans solved the four color problem by designing and creating a computer which could perform logic calculations faster than a human and through programming by human developers coding into the computer the logic needed for a computer to properly solve the four color problem and other theorem provers calculations.
Now let’s go to the article I found by Godlessons, “Matt Slick attempts to answer my refutation of TAG” and see if this author made any critical logic errors as Don Baker did in his article.
The author of this article seemingly has no understanding of absolutes. I say this because his (could be a she but I’m keeping it in the masculine) critical error in logic stems from his lack of understanding that the “actual” color of one’s shoes is the “actual” color of one’s shoes; not the perceived color by someone of one’s shoes’ color. This author goes on for a length of time not understanding that absolutely the shoes have a color which is actually the color of the shoes. This author goes through a rather long series of perceptions of what the color of one’s shoes could be per different people looking at them. This author also applies logical absolutes to arbitrary preferences of someone’s food to eat by saying that some people may prefer stake over broccoli. This author then concludes that the law of non-contradiction could possibly be violated but that because we only perceive what color the shoes are and prefer one food over another food thus we’d not know if the law of non-contradiction were violated or not.
The law of non-contradiction states that a contradiction cannot be true: “It is impossible to have A and not A at the same time and in the same relationship.” The last part of this definition is crucially important. Obviously, A and not A could each be true at different times but never at the same time. Now getting back to the color of shoes that this author speaks of; with the “actual” color of the shoes, the shoes cannot be both, the “actual” color and “not the actual” color at the same time regardless of what the perceived color of the shoes are by the people who view them. It doesn’t matter if the people who perceive the color of the shoes differently or not, the “actual” color of the shoes will always be the “actual” color of the shoes over the lifetime of the shoes because the color of the shoes can be nothing but the “actual” color of the shoes for as long as they are shoes even if over time their color changes it is still the “actual” color of the shoes. As for food preferences, it is absolutely necessary for each of us (you and me) to have substantial digestion of nutrition so to survive regardless of what our preferences are for food. It doesn’t matter what a person’s food preference is or not so long as a person is digesting the absolute needed nutritional requirements to not starve. With regard to the law of non-contradiction it would be a person is either “digesting the absolute needed nutritional requirements to not starve” or a person is “not digesting the absolute needed nutritional requirements to not starve.” This is because a person absolutely cannot be doing both, “digesting the absolute needed nutritional requirements to not starve” and “not digesting the absolute needed nutritional requirements to not starve” at the same time regardless of any food preferences the person has. So the truth isn’t as Godlessons states that we cannot know if the law of non-contradiction is violated or not if one properly uses its logic. The truth is, not understanding absolutes over preferences when applying logic as Godlessons did can lead people into false conclusions due to one to improperly applied logic.
TAG Refuted? By no Means did these Authors Refute TAG.
This reminds me of a quote from Abe Lincoln about a calf. A calf is a baby cow for those who may not know what a calf is. For simplistic sake and for those who are not familiar with what a calf looks like, I’ll change in my rendition of Abe Lincoln’s story the calf to a dog because most people know what a dog looks like. Abe Lincoln once asked someone, “If you call a dog’s tail a leg, how many legs would the dog have?” If you do simple math, a dog has four legs plus one would be five, right? “Wrong,” as Abe Lincoln points out, “Only four legs does a dog have even when you call its tail a leg because calling a tail a leg doesn’t make a tail a leg.”
Annihilist tweeted to me, “Knowing the topic isn't the same as knowing the content.” and I couldn’t agree with him more. The truth of these two TAG refutations is that their authors each make critical errors in their logic trying to refute TAG. Now if either of these two authors trying to refute TAG willingly ignored their logic mistakes or if they even realized that they made mistakes in their logic I do not know. Only God and these two authors know if they willingly ignored their mistakes or if they didn’t realize that they made blunders in their logic of trying to refute TAG. What I do know is that both authors who tried to refute TAG made critical errors which render moot any refutation of TAG that they claim they’ve made.
I find it pathetic that there are so many people who present themselves as knowing the content when they don’t even really know the topic. Seriously, as I stated, I’m not an expert in logic but these easily found serious flaws of logical made by these two atheist authors who claim that they have refuted TAG shows just how much people can overlook or willingly persuade when they are trying to be right instead of seeking truth. What’s even worse are those people who will read these author’s works and take it at face value without doubt for what they say as truth not thinking on their own about the logic within the articles; and thus wrongly thinking that they refuted TAG when truth is that these authors made serious logic errors in their reasoning and do not refute TAG at all.
Annihilist, thank you for our Twitter discussions; I find them enlightening and hope you do too. God bless you!