Posts Tagged ‘Logic/Critical Thinking’

James G. Howes [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

Finding trigger words to locate a person’s argument is not as easy as it seems. In a conversation, the logic of a person’s argument is not always presented in a logically coherent manner. Learning what to listen for, and how to accurately portray their argument, is a really good way of loving your neighbor. Asking the right questions, in a respectful manner also helps.

“Trigger words are simply words in English most people use to show reasoning. We do the same thing when we talk simple arithmetic problems, so I will use those as an example. Usually, you would see a problem presented this way: “If Johnny wants to take three apples in his right hand and four in his left, how many apples will he have?” The word “and” in the sentence above signals that this is an addition problem. If the sentence would have said “less than” it would have signaled a subtraction problem. The words help you understand the nature of the problem itself.

Similarly, there are trigger words that signal whether a person is making a conclusion or providing a premise for his belief. Here’s a short list of words that will frequently be used as triggers to signal a conclusion…”

— Lenny Esposito

via Come Reason’s Apologetics Notes: Identifying an Argument: Looking for Trigger Words.

simul iustus et peccator, 

Eric Adams 
Rossville, GA 
Reductio ad Absurdum

Reductio ad Absurdum (Photo credit: \|\!!!)


It is always interesting to see Jesus’ interaction with His opponents, in the context in which they occur. He treated confrontational, non-repentant questioners heavily with the Law. He responded to contrition and repentant humility with comfort. When He dealt with the Pharisees, Sadducees, and professionals in the Law, who came with nefarious motives, He pulled no punches, and was quite logical in His treatment. The following quote is from an excellent post dealing with Jesus’ use of the reductio ad absurdum in His argumentation with His antagonists. Read the whole post, it is very gander-worthy.


Christ and The Pharisees

Christ and The Pharisees (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


“In their book The Apologetics of Jesus authors Norman Geisler and Patrick Zukeran demonstrate that Jesus was a master logician and very adept with making arguments.  For example, they point out an example of Jesus arguing reductio ad absurdum in the gospels:”Reductio ad absurdum reduction of absurdity is an argument that demonstrates that if something is supposed to be true but it leads to a contradiction or absurdity, then it cannot be true.  It works this way: The argument begins with the premises your opponent holds.  Then you reveal how this leads to a contradiction, and thus your opponents view is reduced to absurdity.  This is a powerful way to reveal the false nature of a view, for if we can show that it leads to a contradiction, then it cannot be true.


Matthew 12:22-28.  Jesus uses the reductio ad absurdum argument to respond to the Pharisees accusation that he is exorcising demons by the power of Satan.  Jesus demonstrates that their premise leads to a contradiction:


“Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.  If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself.  How then can his kingdom stand?  And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out?” vv. 25-27


Jesus begins with the Pharisees premise that he drives out demons by the power of Satan.  He points out that if he is empowered by Satan to drive out demons, Satan is casting out his own servants.  This would mean Satan is divided against himself, and any kingdom, city, or household that develops internal strife will destroy itself.  Jesus goes on to point out that there are contemporary Jewish exorcists who also cast out demons.  If they believe these men cast out demons by the power of God, why do they not believe that Jesus does so by the power of God?…Thus, Jesus uses the reductio ad absurdum argument to show that the claim that his authority to cast out demons is from Satan creates a contradictory and absurd conclusion.” “


via Truthbomb Apologetics: Jesus Argued Reductio Ad Absurdum.


simul iustus et peccator,


Eric Adams


I once had a person I was witnessing to ask “Well… who made God”? Another time someone asked me if God could make a rock so big He couldn’t lift it. Never get side-tracked by these Red Herrings. They are usually smoke-screens designed to quell your reasoning, or dispel the conviction the Holy Spirit may be bringing to bear on their own conscience. These are all non-sensical queries or statements, and should be parried quickly, allowing you to return to the real issue: man’s guilt before a Holy God, and Christ’s answer on the Cross. Please read the following article, as I found it helpful.

“Separate and apart from the fact that God is not, Himself, physical, and that He created the entire physical Universe, though He is metaphysical and transcendent of the Universe, the question is a conceptual absurdity. It’s like asking, “Can God create a round square or a four-sided triangle?” No, He cannot—but not for the reasons implied by the atheist: that He does not exist or that He is not omnipotent. Rather, it is because the question is, itself, self-contradictory and incoherent. It is nonsensical terminology. Rather than saying God cannot do such things, it would be more in harmony with reality to say that such things simply cannot be done at all. God is infinite in power, but power meaningfully relates only to what can be done, to what is possible of accomplishment—not to what is impossible! It is absurd to speak of any power (even infinite power) being able to do what simply cannot be done. Logical absurdities do not lend themselves to being accomplished, and so, are not subject to power, not even to infinite power (see Warren, 1972, pp. 27ff.).

via Apologetics Press – Can God Do Everything?.

simul iustus et peccator,

Eric Adams
Rossville, GA