Is logic overrated?


After witnessing William Lane Craig spout such inane drivel in the form of countless philosophical syllogisms as if they are supposed to prove anything with certainty, I have come firmly to the shocking conclusion that his version of logic is grossly overrated for the following reasons:

  1. Why resort to “arguments” and “logic” at all?  What’s wrong with hard evidence?  Why does God remain hidden instead of just revealing himself during the World Cup Final and put the question beyond doubt or at the very least perform miracles that are captured by CNN reporters and broadcast on a nightly basis to every home on the planet?
  2. From 1, hence why no discipline other than theology/religious philosophy uses logic to prove anything.
  3. From 1 and 2, logic is a poor substitute for people trying to disguise the absence of evidence in support of their presupposed dogmatic positions.
  4. From 3, if it could be shown to the satisfaction of every scientist and every Christian apologist that the universe had no definite beginning in the finite past but was eternal and uncaused, Craig and his ilk would instantly re-invent their “arguments” to show that an infinite and uncaused universe was evidence for a creator deity.
  5. Premises and conclusions can be disputed. Therefore, logic is subjective.
  6. Just because something is logically consistent doesn’t mean that it exists in reality.  Computer game characters with superhuman powers are logically consistent otherwise they would not be able to run on a computer.  However, their characteristics do not exist in the real world; they exist in the virtual world.

I’m not writing-off logic altogether.  It has its uses and I copy and paste the occasional syllogism myself.  However, I believe that its uses are retrospective rather than prospective.   It is a useful tool to summarise empirical evidence and observable effects.

Richard Dawkins’ summary of his arguments at the end of Chapter 6 of The God Delusion, “Why There Almost Certainly Is No God” has been much criticised by people doped up on too much Craig.  The summary is precisely that; it is not a logical syllogism with premises and a conclusion.

Empirical logic helps us understand observable facts about the Universe.

Deductive logic tells us nothing except what others dogmatically presuppose.

3 Responses to “Is logic overrated?”

  1. Mark Says:

    Deductive logic is understandable if the question is an abstract one – but the existence of a god should rely on more solid foundations!

  2. Sam Harris beats William Lane Craig in their debate on morality | manicstreetpreacher Says:

    […] Harris received much criticism for supposedly straying off-topic in his rebuttals by discussing the problem of evil, Yahweh’s atrocities in the Old Testament, the plurality and diversity of the World’s religions, and the contradictions of Christian theology regarding the supposed existence of a good God and hell.  However, from the opening sentence of his first rebuttal – “Well, that was all very… interesting…” – it was clear to me that he was not going to conform to Craig’s rules of debating and let him railroad the discussion in an argument of semantics, syntax and philosophical “logic”. […]

  3. Sam Foerster Says:

    Something seems intuitively wrong with the idea that you are trying to use a cogent (logical) argument to show the limits of logic.
    Is it possible that you are leaning toward thinking logic is overrated because it is occasionally used against positions you are loath to abandon?
    How does this quote from fellow atheist professor Thomas Nagel sit with you? “I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, I hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”

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