Reasoning with Faith, Religion, and Atheism…Analogical Reasoning (Part 3)

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Analogical Reasoning

Analogical reasoning is a method of processing information that compares the similarities between new & understood thoughts, and then uses those similarities to gain understanding of the new concept. It is the unique in this aspect for the reason that it is considered reasoning from the particular to the particular.  It is considered a form of inductive reasoning because it strives to provide understanding of what is likely to be true, rather than deductively proving something as fact. Analogical reasoning can be used by both children and adults as a way to learn new information or comparative information.  It is similar to matrix reasoning, because they both deal with the analogies and comparisons.  Analogical logic is viewed as a form of inductive reasoning, since the truth of the premises does not guarantee the truth of the conclusion.

The reasoning process begins by a person determining the target domain, or the new idea to be learned or explained. It is then compared to a general matching domain, or an idea that is already well-understood.  It commonly used by many Psychologist and Scientist studying new and uncertain fields to get a grasp on an unknown ambiguous uncertain topic.  In my opinion it is the least reliable when concluding an argument of reason with certainty in a conclusion.  Furthermore, I would say this is the least efficient reasoning, but probably the most common among people in conversation and debates.

The Analogical argument for reasoning is most common when used in the proposition of an intelligent designer or an intelligent creator. The most famous analogical logic is the teleological argument for creation & design.  Teleological arguments are design arguments that presume that given this premise, the existence of a designer can be substantiated and typically presented as a Benevolent God.  It is the argument for design of the universe, and the designer, -the Sovereign God who created it.

A complex universe/object that is designed must have a designer.  And the designer of that complex universe/object must be powerful and knowledgeable enough to design such an object.

 The Watchmaker Analogy is the most commonly associated analogical argument of reasoning.  It is most commonly used when it comes to the reasoning of God, the Universe, and Creation.  In simplistic terms it’s fashioned as:

Another lesser famous form of the analogical arguments of reasoning is David Hume’s Analogical Design Argument.

However, the majority of atheist find this analogy of intelligent design and it analogical reasoning insufficient.  So much so that prominent atheist Richard Dawkins has written a book and has a YouTube series titled the blind watchmaker.

Former Professor of Philosophy and Religion Robert Hambourger defends the teleological argument of analogical reasoning in his well elaborated paper, “THE ARGUMENT FROM DESIGN.”  In it he defends the argument of design, and rebuttals the more well-known fine objections to Intelligent Design/Creationism.

Here is a breakdown of his lengthy article in his own words,“In Part I, I shall present a number of objections to the argument that, for the most part, are quite well-known and, I think, quite weighty. Most are descendants of objections to be found in the writings of David Hume.  Then, in Part II, I shall present the specific version of the argument I wish to offer here and, finally, in Part III, try to show that it does not succumb to the objections raised at the start.”


About M. Rodriguez

When I first received Christ salvation, I made it a priority to read the whole bible and I did. But it was the Bible that made me question my faith. For I found it flawed and lacking. Due to this I launched a personal inquiry/investigation into my faith, and ultimately realized that the Christian God of the Bible was indeed man-made. Now I Blog about those findings and life after Christ.
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9 Responses to Reasoning with Faith, Religion, and Atheism…Analogical Reasoning (Part 3)

  1. Neil Rickert says:

    Analogy is useful for conveying concepts. However, I don’t find it persuasive on questions of truth.

  2. unklee says:

    It is true that analogical have been used to argue from the apparent design in the universe to the existence of God, and I agree that they are not very persuasive. But the design argument can best be presented as a formal logical argument that doesn’t rely on analogy. One form, which WL Craig has used, and which I have outlined in The teleological argument goes like this:

    1. The character of our universe is determined or described by physical laws and constants.
    2. If these laws and constants had been different, life would probably not have arisen.
    3. The laws and constants which led to this suitability for life must have been determined by either physical necessity, chance or design.
    4. The cosmologists say the laws and constants have not been determined by physical necessity.
    5. They also say the laws and constants have not been determined by chance.
    6. Therefore our universe was designed.

    There is no analogy there, simply a logically valid argument that depends on the truth of its premises. The key premise is #3, and if it is true (and I can’t think of any other possibilities, can you?), then the conclusion rests not on analogy but on the consensus views of cosmologists, that are summed up in #4 and #5.

    I think it is a very strong argument. (See my reference for a discussion of the various views on the premises.)

  3. Winston Wolf says:

    I don’t think this is a very compelling argument. The Key premises are 4 & 5 not the rather trivial 3. Have you any percentages how many scientists hold them to be true?

    Premise 5 only makes sense, if you already believe that life always was meant to be as it is now.
    One can hold the view that: The universe may appear to fit us perfectly, but in fact we simply fit the universe perfectly.
    Then chance becomes much more plausible.

  4. unklee says:

    I don’t have percentages, but I have read a number of eminent (and agnostic) cosmologists who argue this way (Rees, Susskind, Davies, Penrose). That is why they tend to look to the multiverse as the only scientific option available (most of them recognise God is an option but they don’t regard it as scientific). But the multiverse still begs the question of how did it get to be so well designed as to produce zillions of universe, all different, as Davies at least points out.

    The idea that we fit the universe perfectly is no more statistically likely. The odds are overwhelmingly that the universe wouldn’t last long enough for life to form, or that it would be thin soup with nothing but diffuse hydrogen and/or helium – not enough to sustain anything. Don’t take my word for it – check out cosmologist (and atheist) Luke Barnes on this – In Defence of The Fine-Tuning of the Universe for Intelligent Life, especially the quotes at the end just before the comments.

    You’d be surprised how many non-believers have not done their homework on this matter and put forward opinions that don’t fit what the cosmologists say. And we believers are accused of blind faith!

    Best wishes.

  5. M. Rodriguez says:

    I have to say I am not too familar with the telelogical argument, but it looks like a very good argument with a well structured syllogism. but your input is well appreciated, I will definitely use if I ever get around to a study of the telelogical argument.

    • exrelayman says:

      Premise 2 gets a free pass? How the heck would anybody know that, instead of for instance: if the parameters would be different then EITHER life would not exist OR life would be different from the life we know? Doesn’t look like ‘a very good argument’ to me.

  6. Pingback: Reasoning with Faith, Religion, and Atheism…Inductive Reasoning (Part 6) | The BitterSweet End

  7. Pingback: Reasoning with Faith, Religion, and Atheism…Introduction to Reasoning (Part 1) | The BitterSweet End

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