This high school term paper came across my radar recently. It was written by my 18-year-old cousin, and it makes a great case for the logic behind faith. Yeah, the logic behind faith. It’s a little heavy, but read through it and you’ll see what I mean. It’s superbly written, and I think it will revitalize your faith in our youth.
The Paradox of Logic Explained
by Mark A. Chesebro
The problem of Inductive logic is one that has been the thorn in the flesh of many logicians and philosophers. Humes was one of the first to realize this flaw in logic, and it troubled him greatly. Logic is considered the only definite process in a world that tends towards entropy. It would be unsettling to discover any flaw in something that is concrete.
Some logicians and philosophers believe that the best route to take when dealing with inductive logic’s fallacy is to simply disregard the fact that a conclusion cannot be found, and merely acknowledge that the process works. Others believe that it is perfectly acceptable to disregard Hume’s discovery as it is too narrow in scope to be proven 100% valid. Both of these actions would not be proper for a true logician, as it is of logical nature to determine causes, and the main cause of fallacy in the logic world is due to a lack of scope. It is apparent, then, that we true logicians must broaden our minds to hypothesize and refine until the paradox of Deductive and Nondeductive (Inductive) logic can be solved.
In the case that the reader is unaware of the paradox or rather the types of logic themselves, I will briefly extrapolate. Deductive logic is the only 100% sound logic in this world. When one uses a premise to deductively entail a conclusion they have formed a cogent (acceptable) argument that meets every standard logical order and premise-to-conclusion acceptability. They have created an irrefutable claim.
Many deductive arguments make use of a priori (know to be true) knowledge to prove their conclusions. An example of an a priori truth would be that humans need oxygen to live. It is definite knowledge that our bodies require the chemical oxygen to function. When a priori truths are used as premises to prove the conclusion, the argument must always be accepted if it follows deductive entailment. It is irrefutable.
Deductive logic can be proven through the use of proofs and truth tables, and it is easy to see if the conclusion should be accepted or rejected in regards to the given premises. The problem with deductive logic, is that is cannot be used in much general argument. It uses categories and propositions of known facts to reorganize, and is limited beyond anything that is a priori. If the argument is in an area that does not have a priori truths that it can classify, it is essentially useless.
Deductive logic can tell us that without the sun, the Earth would perish. It is a known fact that heat is required to maintain a homeostatic environment on this planet. It is also known that the sun is the source of this stable heat. Through deductive entailment, we can reason that without the sun to provide the Earth with its necessary heat, it would perish. This is essentially an irrefutable claim. Deductive logic cannot, however, tell us that the sun will rise again tomorrow, in which case the Earth would perish due to lack of the sun. We can know that the sun will sustain the Earth for this instant in time, but we can never know that it will continue to sustain it in the future. This may seem like a ridiculous statement – as the sun has been rising every day for as long as we know – but that is due to the fact that Inductive logic is being engrained in our minds from the moment of our birth.
Inductive logic is using an event, or experience, in the past to make a conclusion of what will take place in the future. If the sun has risen every day of your life up until this point, and every day has sustained the Earth and given it heat, then you will automatically assume that the sun will continue to do this for the indefinite future. But this would be based on the unstated premise that the future will resemble the past – the idea that we can use the past to prove the future. This is not, however, a Deductively sound assumption because according to deductive entailment, the past is in no way connected to the future. Therefore, to assume the present or future on the basis of information found in the past would be altogether fallacious.
Deductive logic cannot allow validity in Inductive logic, due to its nature; one is concrete, and one is on the basis of assumption. But as in the example of the sun, we clearly use Inductive logic within our Deductive logic. We must use knowledge of the past to assume that the sun will sustain, and provide a stable environment for the earth. In this case, our a priori truths (the sun will rise and provide heat) are based on an Inductive inference that is not stable. We are using unstable logic to prove stable logic. This is a paradox which cannot exist. It is against deductive logic’s own nature to function in this case. Furthermore, if this paradox exists, then we must render all logic useless because any flaw in Deductive logic would be to say that it is unstable once, and if this is the case, then there is no reason to assume that it is stable at any time. This paradox would render all logic useless.
This is a hard concept to grasp, as it is obvious to us that the Sun will continue to sustain the Earth, and it is easy to see that Deductive logic and Inductive logic work. The problem is the philosophy behind it all. While they may work, we have no logical reason to believe that they will continue to do so. For this reason, we must seek out what it is that causes this consistency, regardless of space and time. We must determine what can exist that would make it possible to assume the future on the basis of the past. If we can prove that it is logically sound to use inductive logic, then the paradox would cease to exist, and the function of logic would be proven.
Now that a background has been given in regards to the terms used, and the problem presented, I will seek to explain what I have found to be the only valid process by which this paradox can be solved.
A Need for Consistency
I would first like to consider what we “know” about Inductive logic as it is present in every situation of our lives. We trust the chair that we are sitting in because of Inductive logic, and inductive logic is what tells us that when we wake up tomorrow we will be able to further ourselves because of what we have learned or experienced in the past. This considered, it is obvious that Inductive logic is required for rational thought – and rational though, our survival. However, as discussed, our trust in Inductive logic cannot be proven on the grounds of sound logic, as sound logic cannot use the past to prove the future. Therefore, if sound logic cannot prove Inductive logic, yet it is still accepted, and proven on a daily basis, then we must accept it as true on the grounds of faith – as faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see. This would entail that at its core, our acceptance of inductive logic is based purely on faith, and being that we need inductive logic to survive, and through faith we accept it, then faith is also needed to survive.
An interesting side conclusion that results from this order of logic is the idea that because our faith in Inductive logic is constantly proven true, regardless of its lack in logical grounds, it is entirely plausible to rely on faith rather that concrete logical reasoning in our every day survival. This does not shed any real light as to the solution of the paradox, but is worth noting all the same as many scientists who disregard faith are actually basing their discoveries in Inductive logic, which is the byproduct of Faith!
So let us again consider that our faith in Inductive logic is constantly being proven true without any logical grounds whatsoever. If this is the case, which it is, then the only solution that would be plausible would be to assume that there must be certain unalienable “truths” present that regulate the present and future, providing consistency and grounds for our faith. But we know that sound logic, which is the only stable thing in our world, rejects faith as acceptable grounds of proving something. This means that we cannot prove that these “truths” exist using the laws of deductive logic. Yet we witness these “truths” every day when we see entropy in action and consider the laws of thermodynamics. It is quite obvious that regardless of concrete logic, certain “truths” do exist, and are consistent outside of the realm of time.
This again brings us back to our paradox of logic – rational logic (logic of this “world”) cannot allow these “truths” because of its concrete nature. So we must consider the possibility that there exists a realm outside of our own “world”. A realm that is separate from space and time which would then be able to regulate our “world” due to its external nature. If this was the case, and certain “truths” were present outside of our perception of space and time, then we would have a deductively valid base to place our trust in inductive logic.
An analogy of this situation would be when we consider chemical reactions. Our faith that water will be the byproduct of H and O is based on the grounds that the laws of combination of elements exists outside of space and time, and so the reaction will continue to form water in the unforeseeable future.
In the same way, if we accept that there is a higher order in place outside of our space and time, we would have grounds to assume that the sun will continue to rise because the higher order is what continues to sustain our faith in consistency. There must be a higher order which regulates, because without something to regulate space and time, all logic would be rendered as illicit process, and it is very apparent to us that the process is not illicit.
Furthermore, if these “truths” are present and the future concrete – our faith being proven true – then something must exist which created these laws and regulations outside the realm of our world. Because if we consider the laws of information “Universal information can only be produced by an intelligent sender” then it is impossible for these laws to exist in this external realm unless some intelligent being were to generate this information. The truths that we witness could not continue to exist without this entity present to maintain them for the present and the future.
With this information considered, it would be entirely plausible to assume that God exists outside of our realm. A God separate of space and time, that is consistent. If this is the case, then our faith that there is a God would be proven true through His consistent nature, and would further provide the grounds necessary to accept faith, or inductive logic, as a valid process.
So I conclude that our faith in inductive logic, which is necessary for life, can only be proven if we accept that God, an intelligent being, exists outside of space and time. And as an intelligent being, God creates the information that is required to give inductive logic its grounds of reason – God creates and maintains the laws of nature. If we accept the premise that I have proposed, and further have grounds to base our faith in Inductive logic, then we are also able to render the process from deductive logic to inductive logic one that is stable in nature and consistent for all time. God makes Logic possible.
A further interesting note that I would like to address, although it would be considered slightly post hoc, is to consider that the Bible itself makes indirect reference to God’s attribution to logic. Malachi 3:6 states, “For I am the Lord, I do not change.” And Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” These verses do not seem to be written with the intent to prove that God is the base for logical reasoning, but if we consider them with Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them,” it could be concluded that since we are made in Gods consistent image, we are therefore able to reason on a logical basis due to His, and consequently our, consistent nature. Again, this logic would be considered fallacious due to its post hoc nature, so I was forced to use a more complex process to do so.
It is my final hope that you the reader – if not willing to accept my premises, order, or conclusion – will in the least be inspired to search for the answer to the paradox yourself. It is not acceptable to merely let such an inconsistency be. Logic is the very core of our thought and essence, and if we cannot have a grounded faith in its function, then we can never be sure that reality is not changing on a daily basis. We cannot assume to truly “know” anything in a sense.
The Holy Bible, King James Version. New York: American Bible Society: 1999; Bartleby.com, 2000. www.bartleby.com/108/
Scientific laws of information and their implications—part 1. N.p., 14 Apr. 2011. Web. 3 May 2012.