What Do We Mean When We Say We Know?

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We say we know something, but what do we mean?

We have proof.

The proof gives us precise, accurate, absolute, and certain knowledge of the truth.

We aren’t defining proof and evidence as something less conclusive.

We’re defining “knowledge” to exclude everything tentative. If we know it, it’s not tentative. If we say we know something that isn’t true, we don’t have knowledge. We have insanity. If we say we know something we can’t prove, we just have an opinion based on irrational thinking. We say we know something. It may be true, but we can’t know it’s true unless we can prove it.

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Illusions or Truth?

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Beyond misusing words, we can find other ways to give the illusion that made-up stuff is real. For instance, people talk about being logical without knowing what logic is. You may have experienced your friend speculating out loud and then saying:

“That’s logical, isn’t it?”

But it’s not logical. Sound deductive logic has absolute proof, called the premise, which proves the conclusion. Many people don’t understand the words “proof” and “evidence,” and we’ll look into the confusion when we explore science as a way of knowing in another of this series of books. On this journey, we’ll define both “proof” and “evidence” as what produces precise and accurate knowledge of truth with absolute certainty.

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Made-Up Stuff Camouflaged as Reality

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When people tell us that a particular theory is a scientific fact, the term “scientific fact” doesn’t make us think of made-up stuff, does it? As another illustration, if they say, “I have evidence,” we don’t think they mean, “I have made-up stuff.” If they say, “I have scientific knowledge” or “I have proof,” we don’t think of made-up stuff either. And yet the way they use words, their words mean “made-up stuff.” When people put labels like these on their made-up stuff, it’s harder to tell that made-up stuff is made-up stuff. Then it’s harder to discern that made-up stuff isn’t real stuff.

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Made-Up Stuff Disguised As Reality

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Made-up Stuff Disguised as Reality

Real-sounding labels cause made-up stuff to seem real, but it’s no less made-up when it has a new name. Besides using euphemistic words like “axiom” for made-up stuff, we sometimes use words that mean reality. We use these real-sounding words as labels for made-up stuff. Here are examples of false labels that persuaders apply to made-up stuff to make it seem like it’s real:

  • proof
  • facts
  • evidence
  • scientific knowledge
  • scientific fact

These words imply truth, yet persuaders apply them to made-up stuff. Using any of these words to refer to made-up stuff blurs the distinction between reality and make-believe. As we consider this problem, we remember that blurring the difference between reality and make-believe is insanity. This is also true of blurring the difference between truth and error or the difference between good and evil. The most basic point to understand is that all fallacies blur the distinction between reality and made-up stuff. While fallacies begin as thoughts, they expose themselves as words and deeds. And even a single fallacy destroys the entire chain of reason. A chain of thought is only as strong as its weakest link, but fallacies have no strength. They just deceive.

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We Don’t Need Presuppositions

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Consider the following falsehoods that students learn and add to their worldviews:

“All logic begins with presuppositions.”

“The axioms of science are obvious.”

“A theory isn’t a concept but a proved fact.”

All these statements are bare claims. In other words, they have no proof. Still, many educated people believe these statements and can’t believe that anyone would question them. To make matters worse, some people mix revelation with made-up stuff as the following example illustrates:

“All logic begins with presuppositions. For instance, we may presuppose that God can reveal reality to us.”

To sort through this confusion, we must realize that God can reveal reality to us. In fact, He reveals that His revelation isn’t the same as our made-up stuff, so we don’t need presupposition. We don’t need to presuppose that God reveals since God shows us that He’s revealing. God makes it plain to us when He’s revealing a matter to us. In contrast, presupposition, or other made-up stuff, is only necessary if we choose to add to or diminish what God is saying. Contrast the following statement with the previous statement that implied that all logic begins with presuppositions:

“Sound logic never begins with presuppositions since presuppositions consist of made-up stuff. Instead, sound logic begins with a true premise. However, we can’t get a true premise from made-up stuff, so we can’t get a true premise from presuppositions. Since God can reveal reality to us, we don’t need any presuppositions.”

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Made-up Stuff is Made-up Stuff Whatever We Call It

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Euphemisms for Made-up Stuff

Here are some words that mean “made-up stuff.”

  • assumption
  • presupposition
  • supposition
  • axiom
  • hypothesis
  • theory

Now, don’t those euphemistic words sound much better than saying “made-up stuff?” They sound better, but all of them mean the same thing as made-up stuff. Making matters worse, many teachers say “presuppositions,” “axioms,” and “theories” are necessary. They say students can use any of these as a rational basis for thinking.

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Rationalizing

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Ungodly thinkers rarely consider themselves as basing all thinking on made-up stuff, but instead, they make insane thinking seem sane in a practice known as rationalizing. So ungodly thinkers use different synonyms for “made-up stuff,” and these synonyms sound rational. They sound better than “made-up stuff,” but they aren’t any better.

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We Have a Choice

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Here’s the amazing thing. Some people believe that we must base all thinking on axioms. Worse, most schools teach this belief. Our journey will question this belief and provide other choices beyond axiomatic thinking fallacies as the basis for thought. However, ungodly thinkers base their thoughts on axioms, and our journey will fully expose that fact. And even though Christ-followers have another choice beyond ungodly thinking, those who are devoid of the Spirit have no other choice than to make up stuff and call the made-up stuff true. Made-up stuff is how they think. It’s a standard part of their lives. They don’t want to question it.

By the way, we include ourselves among the ungodly thinkers when our thinking lacks the active moving of God’s Spirit. We have a better option, but we drift.

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Axioms = Made-up Stuff

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Sandy Sandbuilder: I don’t base my thoughts on made-up stuff. I base my thoughts on axioms. Axioms are obvious facts that don’t require proof. They aren’t made-up stuff.

But axioms are made-up stuff.

On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand. ~ Edward Mote

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Axiomatic Thinking Fallacy

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An axiom is an assumption. An assumption is a supposition. A supposition is an unproven claim. An unproven claim is made-up stuff. All of these are different forms of what’s known as the axiomatic thinking fallacy. Making up stuff and calling the made-up stuff “truth” is the axiomatic thinking fallacy, yet the word “axiom” almost sounds real. It deceives us since it sounds real, but axioms aren’t real. Rather, axioms are concepts that people make up and call true when they don’t know that the axioms are true or real.

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