Trigger Warning: This post takes the position that Santa Claus doesn’t exist.

I heard this one from a friend of a friend, it’s a good one. It goes like this:

Consider the logical connective associated with implication, the material conditional as it is sometimes called. It basically captures the intuition behind the “if blah is true then bleep is true”. So if and are two truth values (either true or false) and we write the material conditional as “if then “, then we can write out the four possible outputs:

- “if false then false” is true (both are false, implication still makes sense).
- “if false then true” is true (remember implies , but can be true whether or not is).
- “if true then false” is false ( implies , so this combination is not allowed).
- “if true then true” is true ( forces to be true).

The material conditional evaluates to either true or false, depending on whether the truth values are consistent with the implication. Now we can consider to represent the proposition “God exists”. Let stand for “Santa Claus exists”. We can now ask ourselves, is true? Well, clearly is false. What about the implication “if then “? I think everyone would agree that the existence of God in no way implies the existence of Santa, so we can say “if God exists then Santa exists” is false. We now check out the above list and observe that case 3 uniquely matches our situation; the whole implication is false and is false. From this we conclude that must be true, and therefore God exists.

QED

### Like this:

Like Loading...

The problem, here, is that you are assuming that the conditional holds and that it has a definite value of “false.” The conditional does not hold, however, so this statement cannot be considered a well-formed logical formula.

For example, one could substitute “I am the wealthiest person alive” for “God exists.” However, I’m rather sure you would agree that this does not prove that the person making the conditional is therefore the wealthiest person alive.

More to the point, any statement can be substituted for

ain exactly the same manner, includinga‘s logical negation. That is to say, this application would just as easily prove “God does not exist” as it does “God exists.”LikeLiked by 1 person

Agreed! And welcome…

I mostly posted this because I found it amusing; it fools you at first but you just know it doesn’t make sense, and maybe it takes a little while to work out exactly what’s wrong with the argument. I personally found being in that situation myself quite entertaining, but since posting I’m not convinced that everyone can see my intention lol oh well.

But yes, I agree with your analysis.

LikeLiked by 1 person

Haha! Sorry… I spend a lot of time on philosophy and theology forums, so I actually hear arguments like this more often than many might think. Unfortunately, it’s Poe’s Law in effect.

LikeLike

Haha that’s unfortunate, but I guess I’m not surprised. I was thinking earlier, an easy way to use this to prove anything is simply to consider “if P then not P”. That implication is “false”, so you could say that it must mean P is true and not P is false, and voila

LikeLiked by 1 person