Monday, May 04, 2009

Book Review: Come Let Us Reason by Norman Geisler

Come Let Us Reason: An Introduction to Logical Thinking by Norman Geisler and Ronald Brooks is a useful introduction to logic written with the Christian in mind. This sets the text apart in the area of the examples used and some of the commentary involved throughout each chapter. This does not change the content of the logic being taught, but it does add another dimension to the book. We are exhorted, “The next best thing besides godliness for a Christian is logic.”1

In the chapter entitled The Whats and Whys of Logic, the authors tackle many of the objections to studying logic, as well as pointing out the Christian’s responsibility to engage in logical thinking. The authors move through the foundational material quickly. They don’t offer much reinforcement beyond their initial explanations, so the potential reader can be advised to understand it the first time. In some of the earlier chapters it seems as if the authors are coaching the reader along, “see, that wasn’t that hard now was it?” Thankfully, this treatment ends about half way through. Each chapter is followed by a good number of exercises, many with examples drawn from either a Biblical or apologetical context.

Formal and informal fallacies are addressed early on, and the examples are really excellent. Chapter 7, Uncovering Logic in Literature shows the student a practical method of analyzing arguments as they appear in common print (e.g., newspapers, books, etc.). This entails looking for the conclusion, reconstructing the sentences, looking for the middle term, and so on. Geisler and Brooks move on to induction and present a very helpful section on probability. The final chapters deal with the scientific method, its uses, and fallacies of the scientific method. An appendix with truth tables is included, followed by a helpful glossary.

Come Let Us Reason should not be the only book one reads on logic, as there are some areas where the authors are not as clear as they could have been. Without other supplementary texts, the reader may not grasp some aspects fully. However, as a whole, Geisler and Brooks have contributed a helpful introductory text to logic from a Christian perspective.

1 Norman Geisler & Ronald Brooks, Come Let Us Reason: An Introduction to Logical Thinking (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1990), p. 7.


Xavier said...

Does the book cover any contemporary logic? From this review, it sounds like the book's major emphasis is on Aristotelian term logic rather than modern systems. One of the major drawbacks to most Christian-aimed logic textbooks today is their tendency to pass over predicate and higher symbolic logic, which moves forward most of today's pioneering work in apologetics, like Plantinga's use of predicate logic and Swinburne's use of Bayesian probability. Is this book guilty of the same charge, you think?

Brian said...

This is pretty basic Aristotelian logic. Only basic symbols are used and no quantifiers are described. Probabilities is also just a cursory overview.

This is not even getting close to Plantinga or Swinburne. Some of the logic in Craig and Moreland's Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview goes deeper.

Rick Yentzer said...

Would you recommend this for someone new to the study of logic? I have this book and Copley's Introduction to Logic.

Brian said...

I would recommend Being Logical as a first read. Geisler and Brooks is "okay" - but not my first choice; unless you strictly want one from a Christian point of view.

Copi could be a bit heavy for a first read. Go for something lighter first and then read Copi.

Rick Yentzer said...

Thanks Brian, I went ahead and purchased Being Logical. Thanks for all you do.

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