Reasoning with Faith, Religion, and Atheism…Abductive Reasoning (Part 5)

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Abductive Reasoning

I think the majority approach to most of the bible difficulties I have come across is using abductive reasoning to conclude a solution to the scriptural difficulty, if an answer exist.  So I guess the next question is what is abductive reasoning?

Abductive reasoning, or argument to the best explanation, is a form of reasoning, that concludes in an abductive argument of what is the possible or plausible solution, conclusion or stance from the argument.  Some people think that it is closer to inductive reasoning because it is not as sound logically as deducing an argument using pure logic as in deductive reasoning.  Others think it is closer to deductive reasoning, because using sound logic one eliminates the most unlikely argument to come to the most reasonable solution.

Abductive logic is also called inference to the best explanation. It is choosing the most likely or best hypothesis or explanation based upon the relevant evidence.

According to Robert Velarde “C.S. Lewis used abductive reasoning to argue that the Christian explanation of reality — the Christian worldview — is more reasonable and probable than the alternatives…In exploring the alternatives regarding the claims of Christ, Lewis used abductive reasoning to conclude that the most probable explanation is that Jesus is who He said He was.”  And that C.S. Lewis used this logic in his book In Mere Christianity, as reasonable approach to the historical biblical Jesus and Christianity.

So to use an abductive conclusion, is to infer that an abductive argument is supposed to serve as the  “best possible/reasonable explanation.”  It does not deal with the same probabilities and analogies as in a strong inductive argument; nor as secure as the conclusion of a sound deductive argument.  Rather, the conclusion of a good abductive argument is merely the best explanation we know of.  Here is a short video by a Calvary Chapel Pastor explaining Abductive Reasoning:

He explains at the end of the video that when we describe our faith we can use abductive reasoning to explain a fair & reasonable apologetic answer to the our faith, the bible, and God.

What distinguishes abduction argumentation from the other forms of reasoning is its real world applicability into solving subjective problems. (That may or may not have a set answer.)  For example, Who stole the cookies from the cookies jar? or Where should I go to lunch?

My only problem with abduction reasoning is that you have to come to a conclusion and choose the best plausible solution.  It sometimes does not consider that a solution may not be possible to achieve or conclude.

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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3 Responses to Reasoning with Faith, Religion, and Atheism…Abductive Reasoning (Part 5)

  1. exrelayman says:

    “My only problem with abduction reasoning is that you have to come to a conclusion and choose the best plausible solution. It sometimes does not consider that a solution may not be possible to achieve or conclude.”

    Three observations:
    1) Your problem with abduction is the overall problem of life itself. Absolute certainty is not possible. Proof is only a convincing argument. A flawed argument is less convincing, but an unflawed logical proof does not confer certainty. All we can reasonably do is when contemplating contradictory ideas about “what is true” is go with the preponderance and quality of available evidence. And try our damnedest to not fool ourselves by how we weight the evidence because of our biases.
    2) Abduction does not consider anything. That is a reification of abduction. People using abductive reasoning are who does the considering. A pretty common misusage, like when people assert “science proves” so and so.
    3) Even deductive logic involves induction. For instance, in the classical “Socrates is mortal” argument, how do we know the first premise “all men are mortal”. Only because SO FAR, we have not witnessed any man who was not mortal – i. e., by induction.

    • Jared Bottoms says:

      Exrelayman: : “Absolute certainty is not possible.”
      Me: Are you absolutely certain of this argument?

      To say that the first premise in deductive logic is derived from inductive logic is a false premise. The first premise of deductive logis is, instead, self-evident, i.e., a maxim. From the maxim with draw necessary and certain conclusions.

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

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