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Dr. Jason Lisle's facebook post on induction

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Dr. Jason Lisle is the author of the book “The Ultimate Proof of Creation”.

The Ultimate Proof of Creation - Book

A few days ago, he posted something on facebook about induction. There are two people who asked questions about it and Dr. Lisle answered them.

I’m interested about discussions like that so I’m going to put that discussion here in my blog so that it will not be lost on facebook. We seldom see discussions like this so I believe it is very important for them not to be lost.

Also, I’m not claiming that I understand everything in that discussion but I’m putting them here so that I/you can easily refer to it someday when I/we are already well equipped to understand them. :smile:


Dr. Jason Lisle’s Post

I’ve had some really interesting exchanges on Facebook lately that powerfully demonstrate that the biblical worldview alone can justify those things necessary for knowledge, such as logic, or induction.

They all go something like this:

Critic: “Lisle, you claim that the Bible alone can justify induction. But you have been refuted many times.”

Lisle: “Really? Can you show some other worldview that can justify induction without begging the question?”

Critic: “No. But I don’t have to.”

Lisle: “You do if you want to refute my claim that the biblical worldview is the only one that can justify induction. That was what you claimed has been refuted.”

Critic: “No, you’re just wrong and have been refuted many times!”

Lisle: “Then it should be very easy for you to explain how some other worldview can account for induction. Can you?”

Critic: “No but…”

Lisle: “Thanks for playing.”

Ironically, instead of refuting my position, these critics have pretty well verified it. The more the God-haters yap against God, the more they demonstrate the truth of Romans 1:18-20.


James Rivera’s Questions For Dr. Lisle

Jason Lisle,

//I’ve had some really interesting exchanges on Facebook lately that powerfully demonstrate that the biblical worldview alone can justify those things necessary for knowledge, such as logic, or induction.//

Two questions:

  1. What are necessary and sufficient conditions for Logic and induction, and how have you come aware of these? Essentially, why do they need a justification?

  2. How does the Christian Worldview satisfy these conditions?

Dr. Lisle’s reply #1 to James Rivera’s Questions

Hi James,

“1. What are necessary and sufficient conditions for Logic and induction, and how have you come aware of these?”

We would need to have a good (non-arbitrary) objective reason to believe in the existence and properties of laws of logic, in a way that makes it possible for us to know that laws of logic do indeed have these properties – properties such as universality, invariance, without exceptions, accessible to the human mind, etc. The biblical God satisfies these conditions as I show below, and I am aware of these things by God’s revelation.

“Essentially, why do they need a justification?”

Every rational belief requires justification – that’s what ‘rational’ means. It is dangerous to hold to beliefs that cannot be justified, because they are likely to be wrong, and wrong beliefs have adverse consequences. Also, as Christians, we are morally obligated to be rational – to think in a way that is consistent with the character of God, and hence to have good reasons for our beliefs (Isaiah 55:7-8, 2 Corinthians 10:5, 1 Peter 3:15).

“2. How does the Christian Worldview satisfy these conditions?”

The laws of logic are rooted in the nature of God who has made Himself known to us by revelation. For example, all truth is in God (Colossians 2:3, John 14:6), and God cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13), thus truth cannot contradict truth, and so there is necessarily a law of non-contradiction in the Christian worldview. Laws of logic are absolute and exceptionless because God is sovereign over all creation and all truth claims (Isaiah 46:9-10; Colossians 2:3). They are universal because God is omnipresent and His mind controls all creation (Jeremiah 23:24, Hebrews 1:3). Laws of logic are invariant because God is beyond time and does not change (2 Peter 3:8, Malachi 3:6). These laws of logic are accessible to the human mind because we are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27) and God has commanded us to think in a way that is consistent with His nature (Isaiah 55:7-8). Likewise, God has promised us uniformity in nature (Genesis 8:22) and since He is beyond time He is the only person who is in a position to know on His own authority.

That’s the short answer. The details are in a book I wrote called “The Ultimate Proof of Creation.” Blessings.

James Rivera’s reply #1

Hey Brother,

//We would need to have a good (non-arbitrary) objective reason to believe in the existence and properties of laws of logic//

Well, if they are grounded in God, then are either arbitrary, or the Laws of Logic are independent from God, and therefore, we come to the same grounding dilemma.

Why would they be arbitrary if grounded in God? Well, IF

// in a way that makes it possible for us to know that laws of logic do indeed have these properties – properties such as universality, invariance, without exceptions, accessible to the human mind, etc. The biblical God satisfies these conditions as I show below, and I am aware of these things by God’s revelation.//

With all due respect brother, you have not answered the question. What you have done is simply state that the laws of logic, by necessity (which wasn’t explained, but rather assumed) need to have certain properties. But I wasn’t asking for the necessary properties for the Laws of Logic, but rather, what are the necessary and sufficient conditions for grounding them.

//Every rational belief requires justification – that’s what ‘rational’ means. It is dangerous to hold to beliefs that cannot be justified, because they are likely to be wrong, and wrong beliefs have adverse consequences. Also, as Christians, we are morally obligated to be rational – to think in a way that is consistent with the character of God, and hence to have good reasons for our beliefs (Isaiah 55:7-8, 2 Corinthians 10:5, 1 Peter 3:15).//

You are confusing how we can be epistemically rational in a belief with the belief’s metaphysical grounding.

My question is with regards to the latter.

//The laws of logic are rooted in the nature of God who has made Himself known to us by revelation.//

We are getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s back up. Again, the question is two fold, but I will be more clear (perhaps I wasn’t clear enough and that’s causing us to talk past each other):

  1. Why do the Laws of Logic need a metaphysical grounding, and what are the necessary and sufficient conditions for the metaphysical grounding, if needed? And how have you been made aware of them?

  2. How does the christian world-view satisfy these necessary and sufficient conditions.

//That’s the short answer. The details are in a book I wrote called “The Ultimate Proof of Creation.” Blessings.//

I have yet to read your book. So, if you answer the question in full in it, I’ll be happy to purchase and read it ;)

Dr. Lisle’s reply #2 to James Rivera’s reply #1

Hi James,

> “Well, if they are grounded in God, then are either arbitrary, or the Laws of Logic are independent from God, and therefore, we come to the same grounding dilemma.”

I would say that is a bifurcation fallacy. Laws of logic reflect God’s thinking, and God necessarily thinks the way that He thinks. So they cannot be different because God cannot be different. But they still depend on Him. They cannot exist apart from God any more than your reflection in a mirror could exist apart from you. And your reflection in a mirror is not arbitrary.

> “But I wasn't asking for the necessary properties for the Laws of Logic, but rather, what are the necessary and sufficient conditions for grounding them.”

God is the necessary and sufficient condition for grounding them. The reason is that only the biblical God can account for the properties of laws of logic as they are.

> “You are confusing how we can be epistemically rational in a belief with the belief's metaphysical grounding. My question is with regards to the latter.”

God is the metaphysical grounding for laws of logic. They reflect the nature of His thinking.

> “Why do the Laws of Logic need a metaphysical grounding…”

They do not account for their own properties. Laws of logic are conceptual – they exist in a mind. So whose mind do they reflect? Whose mind can account for the properties of laws of logic?

> “and what are the necessary and sufficient conditions for the metaphysical grounding, if needed?”

The biblical God. His mind is unchanging (accounting for the invariance of laws of logic), omniscient (accounting for the universal scope of laws of logic), and sovereign over all truth (accounting for the exception-less nature of laws of logic). 

> “And how have you been made aware of them? “ 

Revelation. God’s Word gives us all the information about God that we need to understand that He alone can account for the existence and properties of laws of logic. 

> “How does the christian world-view satisfy these necessary and sufficient conditions.” 

It has the biblical God. No other worldview does. Hence, no other worldview has a rational metaphysical (or epistemological) grounding for laws of logic.

> “I have yet to read your book. So, if you answer the question in full in it, I'll be happy to purchase and read it”

I think it would help. Blessings.

Colin Lawson’s reply to James Rivera’s reply #1

James Rivera,

//Well, if they are grounded in God, then are either arbitrary, or the Laws of Logic are independent from God, and therefore, we come to the same grounding dilemma. Why would they be arbitrary if grounded in God? Well, IF//

Would you mind explaining your reasoning here please? Your answer seems to have been cut abruptly short.

//With all due respect brother, you have not answered the question. What you have done is simply state that the laws of logic, by necessity (which wasn't explained, but rather assumed) need to have certain properties. But I wasn't asking for the necessary properties for the Laws of Logic, but rather, what are the necessary and sufficient conditions for grounding them.//

He actually did answer the question: God’s existence and continual upholding of the created order is the necessary and sufficient conditions for grounding them (i.e., the ontological base in which the preconditions of intelligibility find their origin—-whether temporal, created and upheld conditions, like the uniformity of nature, or whether eternally stemming from His unchanging nature, like the laws of logic). But of course, that assumes that Lisle has adequate understanding of the laws of logic, their properties, scope, application (and any limits thereof), and that immediately brings up the question of how Dr. Lisle knows what properties the laws of logic have, and why they must necessarily be that way, and not otherwise. Hence he appeals to God’s Word. Epistemology and ontology in a system of thought are interdependent. One cannot have one without the other.

//Why do the Laws of Logic need a metaphysical grounding...//

In what sense of the word “need” are you posing this question? Dr. Lisle’s answer seems to be aimed at explaining the epistemological need for a metaphysical grounding (i.e., they must have a non-arbitrary, ontological grounding in our respective systems of thought, as well as an epistemology whih makes that ontological base known, or absurdity results). But your reply seems to be that that’s not what you meant. Do you instead mean to imply that Dr. Lisle asserts there’s an ontological need for the laws of logic to have the properties they have? If his book is any indication, I believe his answer would be that because they are reflections of God’s thoughts, and since God is eternal and unchanging, universal, perfectly consistent, etc, therefore the laws of logic have those same properties, since God cannot think inconsistently with His nature.


Tim Shaughnessy’s Question for Dr. Lisle

Jason Lisle I very much appreciate all the work you do and I have benefited greatly from your books. I agree with much of what you say but I find that Clark and Robbins had a more consistent position than Van Til and Bahnsen. I call myself a Scripturalist which is the Clarkian Presuppositionalist.

My question is how do you know that the biblical worldview is the only one that can justify induction and do you think this can be proven?

I’m not wanting to challenge you but just want to hear what you think. If you’re familiar with Clarkianism then you already know that we would say that induction is a fallacy unless one can complete the induction.

Just so you know I’m not an atheist masquerading as a Christian here are some articles I have written concerning Presuppositionalism.

http://biblethumpingwingnut.com/2017/03/27/srr-scripturalist-ad-hominem-reply/

http://biblethumpingwingnut.com/2016/08/03/christianity-and-logic/

Dr. Lisle’s reply to Tim Shaughnessy’s Question

Hi Tim. Revelation from God in Scripture is both how I can justify induction, and also how I can justify the biblical worldview being the only one that can do so. In Proverbs 1:7 we read that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. So you cannot begin to know anything apart from a respectful submission to God, and therefore to biblical presuppositions. Since all knowledge is in Christ (Colossians 2:3), we cannot have knowledge except by revelation from Christ, and thus the Christian worldview. Yes, I think it’s provable along those lines of thought, though it’s not necessary from an apologetics perspective to do so since the non-Christian is never able to justify knowledge. Of course, experience confirms this, when unbelievers cannot justify induction (or anything else really) on their own system. God bless.

Bob Stenson reply to Tim Shaughnessy’s Question

My understanding is that induction doesn’t yield certainty of truth but may be helpful non-the-less in a pragmatic way. On the other hand, deduction does yield certainty of truth, but deduction requires a true premise to yield this truth. Then, the problem comes down to this: “How can you possibly have a true premise given the Münchausen trilemma?” The answer, of course, is divine revelation. That brings up a second question: “How does God reveal?” God reveals through the Bible and through every means mentioned in the Bible. One of those ways is mentioned in Romans 1, where God declares that He has revealed all that can be known about Himself and the Godhead to every person, and He’s revealed this through the things He has created.

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