condensed may be expanded into regular logical form. Deductive inference: ?A Negro is a fellow creature; therefore he who strikes a Negro strikes a fellow creature.? Inductive inference: ?The first finger is before the second; therefore it is before the third.? On inference, see Martineau, Essays, 1:105-108; Porter, Human Intellect, 444-448; Jevons, Principles of Science, 1:14, 136-139, 168, 262.
Flint, in his Theism, 77, and Herbert, in his Mod. Realism Examined, would reach the knowledge of God?s existence by inference. The latter says God is not demonstrable, but his existence is inferred, like the existence of our fellow men. But we reply that in this last case we infer only the finite from the finite, while the difficulty in the case of God is in inferring the infinite from the finite. This very process of reasoning, moreover, presupposes the existence of God as the absolute Reason, in the way already indicate I.
Substantially the same error is committed by H. B. Smith, Introduction to Chr. Theol., 84-133, and by Diman, Theistic Argument, 316, 364, both of whom grant an intuitive element, but use it only to eke out the insufficiency of reasoning. They consider that the intuition gives us only an abstract idea, which contains in itself no voucher for the existence of an actual being corresponding to the idea, and that we reach real being only by inference from the facts of our own spiritual natures and of the outward world. But we reply, in the words of McCosh, that ?the intuitions are primarily directed to individual objects.? We know, not the infinite in the abstract, but infinite space and time, and the infinite God. See McCosh, Intuitions, 26, 199, who, however, holds the view here combated.
Schurman, Belief in God, 43 ? ?I am unable to assign to our belief in God a higher certainty than that possessed by the working hypotheses of science... 57 ? The nearest approach made by science to our hypothesis of the existence of God lies in the assertion of the universality of law...based on the conviction of the unity and systematic connection of all reality...64 ? This unity can be found only in self-conscious spirit.? The fault of this reasoning is that it gives us nothing necessary or absolute. Instances of working hypotheses are the nebular hypothesis in astronomy, the law of gravitation, the atomic theory in chemistry, the principle of evolution. No one of these is logically independent or prior. Each of them is provisional, and each may be superseded by new discovery. Not so with the idea of God. All the others, as the condition of every mental process and the guarantee of its validity presuppose this idea.
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