03. Let’s be “reasonable”

We’ve already discussed the laws of logic, now let’s talk about the methods of reasoning that we may be using in our pursuit of the Good News.

The primary forms of reasoning are:

  1. Inductive – Declare answer first from observation, then proceed to prove
  2. Deductive – Proceed to prove then find answer
  3. Abductive – Abduction is a form of logical inference that goes from observation to a hypothesis that accounts for the reliable data and seeks to explain relevant evidence. (Excerpted from The Book of Threes – Three Types of Reasoning )

An example of Inductive reasoning is:

Answer: I like blue jeans

Proof:

  • I’m wearing blue jeans today
  • I have a drawer full of blue jeans in my dresser
  • I’m wearing blue jeans in most photographs of me.

Sherlock Holmes was famous for using Deductive reasoning:

  1. I have a drawer full of blue jeans
  2. Most pictures of me show me wearing blue jeans
  3. I’m wearing blue jeans today

Therefore, I must like blue jeans

Abductive reasoning is a little more complicated to explain but it’s the same process a good detective uses to solve a crime. You start by making a list of all of the facts that are relevant and a list of possible explanations for the facts. The correct answer should be the one that explains the largest number of facts with the least amount of “ad hoc-ness” (I know, that’s not a word). What I mean is, which answer makes the most logical sense without overcomplicating things.

List 1 (facts)

  • I’m wearing blue jeans in most photos of me
  • I have a drawer full of blue jeans
  • I’m wearing blue jeans today

List 2 (possible explanations)

  • I like blue jeans
  • I was abducted by aliens and replaced with a replicant with blue jean legs
  • The CIA is holding my great aunt hostage and told me they’d keep her safe as long as I only wear blue jeans
  • I’m being paid by the Levi Strauss company to advertise for them by only wearing their blue jeans

While all of the explanations are technically possible, the most reasonable answer, based on the facts given, is the first one… I simply like wearing blue jeans. If the facts also included that Levi’s were the only brand of jeans in my wardrobe and my bank account showed regular deposits from the Levi Strauss company, then the last answer would make more sense. But there other two answers would only seem reasonable (given the listed facts) to a conspiracy theorist.

Next week we’ll start looking at the arguments and evidences in the search for the Good News.

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About OneForgivenSinner

Christian, husband, father, computer geek, blogger, amateur evidential apologist

Posted on March 10, 2018, in Apologetics 101. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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