Friday, October 22, 2010

Does the Universe's Existence Prove God's? Part III

As I have pointed out before, this is the only remotely effective argument the religious have, and the more intelligent of them know it.  But, do not shy away from it.  The argument is based on unfounded assumptions and such unfounded assumptions render it unsound logically.  They are its big weakness; focus on them.

Chief among those unfounded assumptions is that there is no other possible explanation other than god (in other words, magic, which implies a magician).  Pin them down on this point.  Make them prove it.  It will come as no surprise that they cannot.  When they assert that god is the only explanation or ask you to provide the alternative hypotheses, refuse to accept the assertion or play along with the "we can't think of anything else, so it must be god" game.

"How do you know that god is the only explanation?"

They will inevitably reply by demanding that YOU provide the alternative explanations.  (Once again trying to shift the burden of proof on assertions they know they can't prove.  And they want us to consider them to be more honest than us?!!!)

In reply, one tactic is to ignore the demand that you supply the list of possible explanations and go straight for the jugular:

"You haven't given me a good reason to think that an 'invisible magic man in the sky' should even be on the list of possible explanations."

Otherwise, you can say in reply:

"You're the one who claims to know the entire list of possible explanations, and, frankly, you haven't yet proven that god should even be on the list."


"I don't claim to know things no one knows, but I think it is clear that god doesn't belong on the list of possibilities.  It's obviously just a primitive myth for superstitious people.  The 'invisible magic man in the sky' theory is not a serious theory."

Followed by:

"If you have any evidence showing that god is a possible explanation, then I would be glad to consider it.  But, if you don't, then your logic fails because it is based on a faulty factual assumption."

They might also try saying that they can't imagine any other explanation, which is just a polite way of daring you to supply one.  Instead of trying to propose other explanations, just say:

"Your ability to imagine another explanation is not relevant to the issue."

The creation paradigm is born of our earthly experience.  We have no way of knowing if the assumption makes any sense in the very different context of cosmology or if (as I think) we are merely stuffing an incomprehensible mystery into a familiar paradigm.  Thus, the previous point can be followed with:

"You are stuffing an incomprehensible mystery into a familiar paradigm and you don't have any justification for doing that.  Your or my inability to explain something  doesn't justify it."

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