# 46 Caveats (Atheism - Constructing a Logical Argument)

## Description

This article is from the Atheism FAQ, by mathew meta@pobox.com with numerous contributions by
others.

# 46 Caveats (Atheism - Constructing a Logical Argument)

Note that I am not claiming that logic is the only way of conducting

discussion and debate. Whether logic is universally applicable is

itself an issue which is very much open to debate. This document only

explains how to use logic; you must decide whether logic is the right

tool for the job.

Note also that this document deals only with simple boolean logic.

Other sorts of mathematical logic, such as fuzzy logic, obey different

rules. When people talk about logical arguments, though, they usually

mean the type being described here.

One problem with boolean logic is that people don't have to be

consistent in their goals and desires. People use fuzzy logic and

non-logical reasoning to handle their conflicting goals; boolean logic

isn't good enough. For example:

"John wishes to speak to the person in charge. The person in charge

is Steve. Therefore John wishes to speak to Steve."

Logically, that's a totally valid argument. However, John may have a

conflicting goal of avoiding Steve, meaning that the answer obtained

by logical reasoning may be inapplicable to real life. Garlic tastes

good, strawberry ice cream tastes good, but strawberry garlic ice

cream is only logically a good idea.

Sometimes, principles of valid reasoning which were thought to be

universal have turned out to be false. For example, for a long time

the principles of Euclidean geometry were thought to be universal

laws.

However, keeping those caveats and limitations in mind, let's go on to

consider the basics of boolean logic.

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