Logic 101

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Throughout their book, Robbins and Gerety show a genuine inability or unwillingness to engage with the arguments I present for the objectivity of the covenant. For example, one of my common illustrations for what I am talking about is the covenant of marriage. A husband is covenantally a husband, and whether or not he is a faithful husband is a separate question. All husbands are married, but not all husbands are faithful to their marriage vows. In the same way, all the baptized are covenantally bound to Christ, but not all such Christians are faithful to their baptismal vows. (And faithfulness to these vows consists of faith alone, incidentally, and not by works as some slanderously report me as saying.)

But look at how Robbins/Gerety misconstrue this illustration and argument. “Wilson’s denial of the class ‘nominal husband,’ implies that all fornicators are husbands, just as his denial of ‘nominal Christian’ implies that all hypocrites are Christians” (p. 115).

The apostle Paul had to deal with a similar problem — teachers of the law who knew nothing about the law (1 Tim. 1:7). Robbins and Gerety make a great fuss over the inviolability of logic (which I agree with, by the way, since the character of God is the basis for all rational thought), but after they have claimed great things for logic, they go on to show that they don’t understand how it works. In this instance, they are guilty of affirming the consequent. They do this in an oblique way, by misrepresenting my argument as though I were affirming the consequent.

This particular fallacy is committed when someone says that “if p, then q. Q. Therefore p.” “If he studies hard, he will get a good grade. He got a good grade, therefore he must have studied hard.” Well, no. He might have bribed the teacher, got lucky on a multiple choice test, etc. Reasoning this way is called affirming the consequent.

I argued that every husband bound by covenant is obligated to keep that covenant, whether he does so or not. All husbands are obligated to refrain from adultery, whether they do or not. If they do not, this does not make them non-husbands, it makes them adulterers. Robbins and Gerety respond to this by saying that a “fornicator remains a fornicator — he does not become a husband — by participating in some of the activities of a husband” (p. 116).

Let me make this concrete, in order to illustrate fully the intellectual dishonesty of how they are arguing. I said that all horses are horses, even those that are black. Robbins and Gerety respond that Wilson thinks — ho,ho,ho! — that being black makes you a horse!

I say that all husbands are husbands, even those who have sex with women to whom they are not married. Robbins and Gerety respond that this entails saying all who have sex with a woman they are not married to are therefore husbands. Really? I would like to see them try to sketch this on the blackboard.

Those who are tempted to listen to what John Robbins puts out need to understand that he is either unwilling or incapable of following the arguments he has assumed the role of refuting. This has been shown repeatedly. For those on the other side of this fracas, you need to find another champion. He is not really helping you out. I say this because if too much more of this goes on, we will be accused of secretly paying The Trinity Foundation to maintain their position as our real-life straw man.

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