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The hole in circular reasoning

contemplatorThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. posted this thread...
Jan. 31, 2013 at 6:35 pm

We live in a world that is completely reliant on the reasoning system. That is, how we think, judge, act, and see facts is through a process of logic. This is how we are able to invent new things, re-create old things, perform fantastic dances, or cheat on a math test. This 'reasoning' that we have, that we are capable of doing, is how we live. 
Or, so I thought. Lately, I fell into a menacing pit of frustration. Not with God (I'm an evangelical christian), or my parents, or my church. But with the system that our world seems to be relying on.
I found a pit in reasoning. It is has already been named 'circular reasoning'.
Most people think that circular reasoning is a flaw in one's logic. This is not true all the time. Circular reasoning can be your world view. 
When I say world view, I mean that belief that dictates your values and actions. So, what I'm basically saying is that your world view is a pressuposition that cannot be proven true or false. 
Think about it. I can say that God does exist because of the world exist. This is the 'painting has a painter' argument. At the same time, an agnostic or atheist can say the world exists by evolution, not God, and that our argument is not valid. 
So, everything we know today is pased off of axiums or presuppositions. I still believe in God. I can still defend my faith when prompted. But I cannot disprove other worldviews in a logical process. 

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Destinee replied...
Feb. 1, 2013 at 2:10 am

First, evolution does not make any claims about how the world came about :P
Second, that realisation is what shook my faith. Be prepared my friend. 

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Breece6 replied...
Feb. 1, 2013 at 6:59 am

What I'm getting from this is that you are realizing you can't "prove" anything, not really.
Yes you are, because if we define "proving" as establishing a large enough body of evidence in order to demonstrate time and time again the validity of said theory, it is very possible to dismiss other people's worldviews.  
You simply need to get out there and become a scientist yourself :)  Go become a scholar, a scientist, a philosopher.  Start learning and never stop.  Maybey your views will change, maybe they'll be solidified, no matter what happens though, keep learning, and keep an open mind.  
Good luck :)

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contemplatorThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Feb. 1, 2013 at 10:41 am

Destinee: You got me there. Evolution does not say anything about God or how the world came to existance. I should have said the Big Bang Theory. 
I kinda remember when you became a theist of a sort. I know I won't change religion, I'm too deep in love for that. So, I'm as prepared as I'll ever be. 
Breece6: Sorry. Humans, by nature, are biased. It is literally impossible for a person to study 'evidence' without any axiums. Lets look at evolution and creation. Both have mounds of evidence for their theories. That is because the evidence are the same thing!! We look at the same fossils, count the same carbon, observe the same earth, but come up with different solutions. Evolutionists don't want to, or don't see a reason why their should be a God, whereas creationists do.  
Presupposition 1: Absolute truth is real. (I may deserve a facepalm for this one. But its still an axium) 
Okay, I can't find any other circular argument. But one is enough. Thanks for the pep talk!
There is more I'd like to say, but can't find the words to say it. XD  

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Destinee replied...
Feb. 1, 2013 at 5:20 pm

That's what gives it away: "If we define proving as.."
It depends exactly on what we define it as. At the end, it all boils down to common sense. 

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Imaginedangerous replied...
Feb. 1, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Why is the existance of absolute truth an axiom?
I agree with Breece. The more you learn, the more likely you are to understand and (if not prove) amass large amounts of evidence for a theory. And while maybe nothing can be proved conclusively, we can get very, very close to doing so. It's like in math, when you have 1.9999999999999999... you'll technically never reach two, but you'll get close enough that it doens't really matter. We may not be able to prove anything perfectly, but in an imperfect world, we can get close enough.

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Breece6 replied...
Feb. 2, 2013 at 12:58 pm

I agree, we have to have axiums to base knowledge off of.  
"Absolute Truth Is Real" I will agree with this axium for the sake of argument.  
"A=A" This is the reflexive law of logic, I think we can both agree on this :)
That being said, when you talk about the controversy between Creationism and "Evolution" or "The Big Bang Theory" or pretty much anything that doesn't follow exactly as the Bible says, we have to accept (by your own pressuposition) that someone is right.  
That being said, we have to look at the evidence and draw logical conclusions.  
That being said, I feel the need to correct something very important you said, and I quote, 
"We look at the same fossils, count the same barbon, observe the same earth, ..." 
Unless you're a scientist, it's very likely you and I have never directly done any of those things to the extent that it proves either theory.  
We get all of our knowledge (at this point in our lives, maybe one of us will become a scientist one day :O ) through second hand sources.  
That means that one of us could very well be wrong, because our sources could contain fallacies.  
I can't remember exactly what grade you're in, but have you ever taken Biology before?  Or Chemistry or Physics?  They're brilliant classes, mind blowing I might say.  If you want to learn more about Evolution, The Big Bang, and the other popular scientific theories concerning the Beginning of the Universe, I recommend text books.  Not "www.EVOLUTIONISTHEDEVIL.c om" 
In conclusion, I disagree about both sides looking at the same evidence and drawing different conclusions, I think Creationism is based off of falacy and inaccurate information.  

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Breece6 replied...
Feb. 2, 2013 at 1:01 pm

But once we define what "proving" means, the world becomes much less confusing :P
I think the majority of people agree with my definition of "proving" so yes I think it could be called "common sense", so to speak.  

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contemplatorThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Feb. 2, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Breece: "I agree, we have to have axiums to base knowledge off of" 
Its more than that. The way we live our lives is based off of axiums. Brannon Howse has repeatedly stated that our conduct is a result of our values, and our values is a result of our world view (axiums). 
"That being said, we have to look at the evidence and draw logical conclusions" 
Evidence for what? An unprovable enigma? Or your strong held belief in whatever you believe in? Evidence for anything can be dismissed when looking from the right perspective. 
Your right when you said that I have never done any carbon counting or anything. And the chances for me being wrong in certain topics might be larger than it would be for a scientist on those same topics. That is, if those topics are not enigmas. 
If a person studies the orgin of the earth, they will have an axium. And this person will collect evidence supporting his axium. This is more simple than it seems. All he has to do is look at his surroundings and explain why it is the way it is, then boom, evidence. I might have oversimplified this, or degraded the process to much, but it is the same basic process. Anyway, this person will then try to disprove other peoples theories or axiums by comparing his evidence to their axiums. This is how many scietists, both evolutionists and creationists, debate. They are basically comparing their world views together, and decide which one they like more. Some scientists and/or logicians caught this folly (Ken Ham), and are now trying to teach people the correct way to approach the subject. 
I'm in 12th grade right now. I have studied biology and chemistry. But I feel like this is irrelevant to the subject. And I have never been to a science site that isn't biased. 
So, in conclusion, your last statement makes more sence. Creationism is based off of inaccurate information if we compare it to an evolutionist's set of evidence. But thats only because evolutionists have a different viewpoint and, therefore, interprits things differently. 
In case this came out a bit hard, I want you to know that this is very fun! I appreciate all of your replies and comments. :D

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Breece6 replied...
Feb. 3, 2013 at 3:48 pm

I just wrote out an incredibly lengthy response to this, and then accidentally hit the "back" button somehow.  FML
I don't wanna do everything again, so I'm just gonna get straight to my final conclusions on our discussion.  
I think your problem is that you're having trouble accepting that nothing can be 100% proven, or that nobody can be 100% unbiased, but you're neglecting to realize that they can get pretty darn close.  That pretty darn close is enough for me, after all, it's pretty darn close.  
No need to worry about being harsh, I probably sound harsh too, though mostly cause I hate the universe, and my computer, right now.  

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contemplatorThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Feb. 5, 2013 at 11:22 am

I feel for ya. Almost evey lengthy post I try to put are either filtered out lost 'cause I hit the button. And now, the teenink won't let me copy. : /
Your final conclusion seems to be irrelevant. It doens't matter with completley proving something or not. In fact, I've known that proving something is immpossile for man for years thanks to the author my science text book Dr. Jay L. While. That isn't what I'm saying. 
You said, and I quote, '... we have to have axiums to base knowledge off of.' So, what are these axiums? That our senses (sight, touch, smell, etc.) accurately portray our surrondings. We already 'know' that there are some glitches here and there. For example, we have blind spots in our eyes. These particular axiums vary from person to person, and, therefore, can contradict itself. 
A perfect example is Giovanni Schiaparelli and the canals on mars. He observed straight lines on mars, and thought they were water canals. Other scientists confirmed the idea. But their maps of the canals did not correlate. When more advanced telescopes came in, it was shown that no canals even existed. What the scientists saw were optical illusions. 
Therefore, what we see, taste, hear, smell and feel are subjective to a the first person, and may or may not be illusions. 
Next, are the axiums of a person's worldview. God is, God isn't, or we are god. These are the basic world views. All evidence supporting each world view can be deemed as circular reasoning. 
For example, I believe in the Bible because God wrote it. God can write only truth. I know God wrote and that God can only wite truth because of 2 Timothy 3:16. 2 Timothy 3:16 is found in the bible. 
Joe is the athiest. He believes that God does not exist because the 'evidence' does not point to a god. He found the evidence by repeatedly explaining how the world can exist with out a god.  
Susan is the new ager. She believes that all is god and god is all. She knows this through feelings and meditation. The things which she feels are seperate entities that are part of the great consiousness. She knows this because of her feelings. 
So the third circular argument may not be agreed on by all new agers/ hindus/ occultists because this belief is, by far, the most diverse. 
In conclusion, your conclusion about my acceptance of 'proving' is irrelevant. Getting close is not even possible if my argument is correct. Evidence is subjective. Truth, on the otherhand, is not. 
I haven't really talked much about truth. But it is very important that I do. Truth is another axium. One that I believe in. For all we know, we could be living in the Matrix. But I chose not to believe in the Matrix because of truth. I believe Truth cannot be proven because 'proving' is not possible. We can get 'close', but only if we rely on our axiums, wich cannot be proven. 
I believe truth is the Bible. 
Joe believes truth is in the eye of the beholder. 
Frank believes truth is in the eye of the beholder.
I know that the bible is truth because God told me. The holy spirit convicted me. The only way we can know truth is through the Truth (that is God). Unlike the other two beliefs, I think my truth, that is God, can convict Joe and Frank that He is true.  And that is the only way anyone can see truth. Whether Joe or Frank will listen is up to them. 

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contemplatorThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Feb. 5, 2013 at 11:25 am

Oofda! Sorry for all the typos and bad grammer. I didn't proof read, so my senteces are a bit broken.

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Breece6 replied...
Feb. 5, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Sigh, I feel like in order to accurately reply I'm going to basically have to re-write that lengthy post of mine, maybe I'll try and cut out some of the fluff this time :)
Your main fallacy in your argument is your misuse of the word "axiom" (we've been spelling it wrong btw, unless of course you were referring to the band Axium :P), you are attributing tons of things as axioms that aren't actually.  
An axiom is not a worldview, an axiom is not "God exists", or "God doesn't exist", or "I am God".  
An axiom is a very basic statement that is assumed for the sheer sake of making any kind of logical progress in a conversation whatsoever. 
"a=a", "1+1=2", "The Assosciative Property of Mathematics", these kind of basic things that we assume are axioms.  Not opinions, not worldviews, not complex philosophical or political opinions :)
That leads to the overall fallacy of your argument, which is you assuming that we should start with a conclusion and search for evidence supporting it.  
This is not the case, if you have taken a science class you should know that in the scientific method, drawing conclusions comes after we gather the data, not beforehand :)  
That being said, what you are describing perfectly reflects Creationism, starting with a presupposition (Genesis, pretty much) and searching for evidence to prove it.  That's why Creation Science is the textbook definition of bias.  No offense :)
Scientists did not just say "Oh I bet species evolved from a process of Natural Selection over the course of millions of years caused by environmental factors governing the behavior of the gross genetic material in a population, let's go look for evidence!", they drew evolution as a conclusion after observing.  
And no by the way, the assumption that our senses are infallable is definitely not an axiom.
In fact if you have taken science classes you'll know that there's an entier branch of percent error known as human error.  

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half.note replied...
Feb. 7, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Well, before you boys get too out of hand, I'm just going to jump in here.
First of all, I think we should clear up what an axiom is.
In this case, I agree more with Breece.
An axiom is not based off your senses or experiences. Quite the opposite actually.
An axiomatic truth is something that is based off a definition.
I looked up "axiom" on Google and this is what I came up with:
1.  A statement or proposition that is regarded as being established, accepted, or self-evidently true.
2.  A statement or proposition on which an abstractly defined structure is based.
For example, we know by its definition that 1+1=2. It can’t be disputed or argued. But, that’s not all. An axiom can be something more abstract that we base off this simple definition. So, we could say that if I have an apple and you have an apple, together we have two apples. That is an axiomatic truth, because by using a basic truth, we were able to establish another truth outside of just the definition.
So, the only way we can come to truth is by basing it off what we know to be true by definition. By using axioms we can lead to conclusions.
Now, how this relates to Creationism vs. the Big Bang or Evolution:
Using this principle of axioms is how you are lead to believe in one or the other.
Contemplator and I are creationists because we believe in the Bible. Does that make our conclusion wrong? I don’t thinks so. After all, we don’t believe in the Bible because an overwhelming amount of “scientific evidence” led us to believe that God created the universe. Rather, we came to believe in the Bible for other reasons and by different proof, and were thus led to believe in creation. (I’m speaking for myself here, but I’m sure you agree, right contemplator?)
In other words, creationism doesn't prove the Bible. The Bible proves creationism.
So really, creationism and the theories about the Big Bang and Evolution aren’t even based off the same axioms. Science isn’t meant to prove creationism, so obviously, if you are trying to say which is true based off science alone, of course the Big Bang Theory and Evolution would win out.
As we said before, observations are biased and unreliable. Observations are not axiomatic. That means the scientific method, which involves observing to make conclusions, is not based on axiomatic truth.
Rather than just using scientific theories, we should be working from definitions and axioms.
We can begin with:  All things have a beginning. We exist so something/someone must have brought us into existence.
Then we move from there.
Using Occam’s Razor (which states that the simplest and most likely answer is probably the correct one), we can rationalize which is more likely:
1.  The universe was created by chance and out of nothing.
2.  The universe was created by a Creator.
Now, it is an axiomatic truth that something can’t come out of nothing (nothing =/= something). So we can reason that there must have been a Creator (something = something).
So while the Bible does prove creation, we can also just use basic reasoning to rationalize which is more likely.
Observations are not the only way to come to the truth.
Well, I hope this made some sense.
God bless. <3 
PS:  the thread title makes me crave donuts :P

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Breece6 replied...
Feb. 7, 2013 at 5:21 pm

I'm pretty sure I'm the only boy who's commented in this thread thus far, so hello to you too! :P
Down to business:
I agree with much of what you said, I'd say a good 75% of it.
However I would like to try my hand at countering your "creator vs. no creator" argument :)
Let's start with my own axiom (muahahaha):
Axioms are not always right
That being said, sometimes we observe things and draw conclusions that lead to differing opinions about axioms and eventually can evolve into the 
of an axiom.  A good example of this is Quantum Physics.  I'm not sure if you have taken Chemistry before, but when we get into quantum physics, weird stuff happens, very weird stuff.  For instance quantum vibration or resonance structures (instances in which electrons can exist in multiple places at once) defy a lot of basic concepts.  
My point is, our "axioms" don't always apply in every situation.  
Consider a Planck, the smallest distance that physically makes sense.  We can't even measure a distances smaller than a Planck, when we attempt to calculate basic physical truths at that level, the laws of physics themselves seem to be nonexistent.  In other words, nothing makes sense.
Your particular axiom "Everything has a beginning" is similarly challenged by recent scientific findings. A "quantum fluctuation" is an event in which the amount of energy in a location fluctuates without an apparent cause, it only happens in extremely small spaces.  "Virtual particles" are created during such an event, particles that appear to be real particles with mass and gravity, but then annhilate against their own anti-particles shortly after forming.  
While this is a relatively new field of research, I'd say it draws questioning to the credibility of such arguments that "everything had to come from something".  
Perhaps God's universe is not as simple as it seems :)

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Imaginedangerous replied...
Feb. 7, 2013 at 8:24 pm

Half.note: I thought of donuts too. :)

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half.note replied...
Feb. 7, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Haha, hi, Breece. How are you?
Anyways, I believe that the other boy is contemplator (at least I'm pretty sure he's a guy-- if not, sorry contemplator!).
Okay, to the topic:
I quote, "sometimes we observe things and draw conclusions that lead to differing opinions about axioms"
You confused me with this, because axioms aren't about observing and drawing conclusions. Yes, axioms can be used to do such things, but the axiom itself is a truth based off an indisputable definition.
An axiom is a self-evident truth, if you try to say anything different, then you're not really talking about an axiom at all.
Anyways, let's forget axioms for a minute.
I admit, I haven't taken chemistry as a course.
I'm in Grade 10 and I've taken little bits of chemistry in general science class, but never a whole course on just that topic.
I'd have to look more into these quantum fluctuations, but at first glance I'd say that this matter is probably coming from somwhere and being created somehow.
And even if matter does come out of nothing, it still needs a cause.
A universe isn't created from nothingness and for no reason.
Just something to think about.
Oh, and I'm glad someone has a brain like mine, Imagine. :)
*heads off to Tim Horton's*

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Breece6 replied...
Feb. 8, 2013 at 6:55 am

Half.note and Imagine:
I have to admit, I did not think of donuts.  I can appreciate the logic to you and therefore concede to your superior intelligence.
Hullo!  Doin' pretty good, I'm in 10th grade myself this year :D .  I think Contemplator is a girl actually, I'm not sure.  "Contemplator" is such a gender-neutral name -_-  :P
On Topic:
If an axiom is a self evident truth, I disagree with your claim that "everything has a beginning" is an axiom.  That claim comes from evidence, not itself. 
As for whether something can come out of nothing, consider this:  
Does a "cause" exist outside of time?  Isn't a "cause" a concept that is entirely dependent on the existence of time?  If that's the case, before the universe was created, when there was no time, what kind of "cause" could possibly have existed?  

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half.note replied...
Feb. 8, 2013 at 11:34 am

I'm glad to hear that you're well.
Is Grade 10 treating you alright? I find it surprisingly more difficult than Grade 9 (although I still manage to keep my average in the high nineties). And the homework is insane. After a day of school and a piano, voice, and riding lesson or work, I'm usually up until 10:00 or 11:00 finishing my homework. :/
I'm just way to busy. But at least I had today and yesterday off school! :D
Anyways, I agree with you about the name "contemplator". But aren't all our screen names pretty general neutral? I mean, "half.note"... it doesn't exactly scream girl or boy. I even thought you were a girl for quite a while (no offense).
Okay, to the topic:
I'll concede to the first point. "Everything has a beginning" is not really an axiom. But it is an established fact that is very difficult to debate.
And what you're saying about causes, you're actually agreeing with my point.
How can a cause exist outside of time?
If the universe came out of nothing that means there was literally nothing. No matter, no time, no cause.
The only kind of cause that could exist before time is an eternal, omnipotent being: God.
He's the only possible explanation to why we were created. Because even if something could come out of nothing, there has to be something/someone to start that event.
Do you see what I'm trying to say?

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Breece6 replied...
Feb. 8, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Grade 10 is pretty fun, English 3 and Algebra 2 are difficult but by far my favorite classes.  I love the way my Algebra 2 class works, we're only graded on our tests and quizzes so the other assignments are purely for our benefit.  That way I can work at my pace and still succeed.  But yeah, it's really busy.
On Topic:
Nothing is impossible with DE-AXIOM-ZATION
Or it could mean that causation is a logical manifestation of our limited human minds and does not necessarily apply to the "objective reality".  
Or it could mean that something caused our universe that exists in a different universe (omni-verse theory)
Or it could mean that our universe itself is infinite in all dimensions (including time), meaning it is simply eternal in and of itself.  
Does a circle have a beginning or end?
An omnipotent, eternal being is not the only possibility, however it is one of the only possibilities which rely solely on intuition rather than external evidence (convienently :P).  
It might be interesting to know that I believe in God, and am really just playing Devil's advocate, just so you know what runs through my mind pretty much every day :P  
However I do have to admit if someone were to asked me why I believe in God, I'd probably just say "Because I want to".  
I don't really have a better explanation than that sadly :(

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