Informal Logic 101: How to Think and Argue Better, Part 7

“Correlation does not equal causation.”  — many people, including me (‘cuz it makes me sound smart)

We’re baaaaaaack, and we have a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get started!

Cause-and-EffectClear thinking & reasoning require at least a basic understanding of causal relationships. Unfortunately, it’s also easy to make logical mistakes in this area. As you may have gathered from the header, our current group of fallacies primarily deals with causes (and effects), while the last one is about making comparisons to give rhetorical (if not logical) force to an argument. And, yes, we have a healthy dose of Latin to make it all sound properly intellectual. We will start with the three main types of “false cause” fallacy, the first being…

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc

This phrase translates to “after this, therefore because of this”. It refers to when one too quickly assumes that ‘A’ is the cause of ‘B’ just because ‘A’ occurred before ‘B’. Or, as Anthony Weston puts it in A Rulebook for Arguments, “assuming causation too readily on the basis of mere succession in time.” Yeah, that’s what I said.

Obviously, succession in time is, on its own, insufficient proof of cause & effect….

Read the rest: Informal Logic 101: How to Think and Argue Better, Part 7

A Good Way to Read Your Bible

“My Preferred Way to Read the Bible | CCW – Christian Communicators Worldwide”

It’s presumptuous for a man to suggest that he knows the best method for everyone to read the Bible. But I’m going to tell you the way that I best read the Bible . . . and why it works so well for me.

I’ve been a Bible reader for many years and the plans I’ve followed are certainly varied. At times I’ve read the Bible through every seven weeks. I believe I even read it in a month a time or two. Such “marathon” plans are a little much for most people, but can be helpful in some special situations. I’ve read in various sections each day. I’ve read books at random, making sure all the books are eventually covered before my allotted time is finished. I’ve used plans that matched certain books together to give more of a chronological feel to the reading. Most of my believing life, I’ve tried to read the Bible once a year at least, with some portions read multiple times. Some years I failed to do anything very consistent, but usually only because I did not determine a plan of action beforehand.

If you are a disciple of Christ, you should be reading your Bible, “Being a believer is serious business; you need a guide like the Bible.”

The Reasonableness of Historic Christian Faith

Cover to *A World of Difference*Everyday, it seems I hear & read statements from people that assert or imply that Christianity is “unreasonable”, “irrational”, “illogical”, etc. These words, while related, all have different shades of meaning and can vary depending on who’s talking, but the gist is the same. It’s true that many Christians act unreasonably, irrationally, or illogically — either on occasion or on a regular basis, unfortunately. But, so what? The same can be said for many non-Christians. I maintain that Christianity itself, as a carefully thought out, theistic worldview, is wholly reasonable, rational, and logical. So, I want to draw attention to one response to this general claim of unreasonableness that may help your understanding on this issue, as it did me.

I was thumbing through the book A World of Difference by philosopher/theologian Kenneth R. Samples, which has a section in one chapter entitled “A Christian View of Knowledge”. After a brief look at the ancient Hebrew and Greek words for “knowledge” and their connotations, Samples points out that knowledge in Scripture is sometimes “personal and experiential” and sometimes “propositional”. He continues:

“Though no one strict approach to the question of knowledge finds complete agreement within Christianity, several universally accepted points represent a consensus among Christians.”

He proceeds then to list and discuss six “universally accepted points”, but it is the final one that I would like to reproduce for your consideration:…

Read the rest: The Reasonableness of Historic Christian Faith

Why Christian Apologetics?

I came across this the other day and decided to share it….

Readers of this blog will recognize that some of what I write about in the science & religion areas can be characterized as “Christian apologetics” (from the Greek word apologia, which loosely means ‘giving a defense’). Not every Christian recognizes the need for this sort of thing, but I think that’s because they don’t realize its value of the Biblical support for such a thing. In the following, Frank Turek (author, speaker, corporate trainer) responds to a challenge by giving several reasons in brief for why he believes that the endeavor of Christian apologetics is not only legitimate but mandated.

Frank TurekAn Apologetic against Christian Apologetics?
— by Frank Turek

Last week I was taking questions during an “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist” seminar on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University. One question challenged the legitimacy of Christian Apologetics. It was half question, half critique and it went something like, “Why are you trying to prove Christianity? We just need to love one another!” It sounds like something from the emergent church” people. Here is my response:

Read the rest: Why Christian Apologetics?