Many of us have heard the following attack. This morning a woman I know used it in a group discussion.
An atheist seated next to a little girl on an airplane turned to the girl and said, “Do you want to talk? Flights go more quickly when people talk with fellow passengers.”
The girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to the stranger, “What would we talk about?”
“Oh, maybe about why there is no God, or no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death.”
“Let me ask you a question first. A sheep, a cow, and a horse all eat the same stuff – grass. Yet a sheep excretes little pellets, a cow turns out a flat patty, and a horse produces clumps. Why is that?”
“Hmmm, I have no idea.”
“Do you really feel qualified to discuss God, Heaven and Hell, or life after death, when you don’t know shit?”
A week earlier, in response to a friend's question, I told some of the same people that I'd seen descriptions of six kinds of atheists. In response to my friend's curiosity I said I would have to review those descriptions before I say much about them. The conversation then turned to other matters, for all but one of us.
It's plainly an adult xian using a little girl's persona to embarrass an adult atheist so I'll probably ignore it. I've thought of devising a satiric reply, perhaps "A bit of reasoning will tell you the answer. The amount of water the animals drink determines the liquidity of their excrement."
This reminds me of all the "Atheist professor embarassed by student" stories you see goinga around Facebook and the like. I'm sometimes tempted to point out how they are ridiculous strawman arguments, but then I realize that these aren't actually intended to debate atheists, they're just there to make the believers feel better about their belief.
Chad, thanks for the strawman idea and the thought that the story's purpose is to help believers feel better about their belief -- about their victimization.
It achieves its cruel purpose with humor, which by definition replaces what's expected (the girl's first definition of shit) with what's unexpected (her second definition).
Any adult male who would try that line with a kid he's never met is too dumb to make it as an atheist. He's also courting a charge of molesting a young girl.
All of which tells a fair-minded listener the unhappy condition of believers who use the story.
"Atheist professor embarrassed by student" arguments seek to make christians happy with themselves and their religious beliefs. The problem with this is that their answers usually say, "but the bible says" and they take this as some sort of authority that they think should end the discussion. They win. Case closed. They really knew the bible. Wow!
One might as well quote the writings of Mark Twain or Omar Kyam, or read from your sister's diary. Christians just don't get it!
Then you have the very vocal stenographer who gives an outburst of "he will not be mocked" when the issue at hand was getting our government going again. She reportedly had religious postings all over Facebook, but none of her actions made any sense. If there was a god, what would he have to do with getting our government going again? Church and state are right where the politicos want them to be, but now I don't get it!
Tonight I'm going to pray that the Tooth Fairy bring back that tooth that she took in 1995. The end times are here because somebody took a crap in Palestine.
Fine ... how much do YOU know about single-malt scotch ... or parametric testers ... or how to troubleshoot something you've never seen before? Do you "know shit" about any of that?
Welcome to the wonderful world of false equivalence, never mind moving the goal posts erratically.
I was just thinking that the best response to the woman might be to say that you know more than her, the little girl, jesus, allah, yahweh and every god combined. Just to mess with her arrogance (with superior arrogance, hehehe) and issue a challenge for a good ol' fashion bible bash as we used to call it back when I was missionary for the morons. (aka LSD church, hehe)
A bible bash is the fun time of dueling debates between religious people with equally nonsensical bible verse quoting and interpretation and misrepresentation and downright manipulation. hahaha It's great for a mind bending load of confusion for everyone involved. Makes everyone walk away with a migraine trying to keep the bullshit straight in their heads.
But I understand that you are taking the mature road of being diplomatic and a kind of ambassador for the serious issues relating to religion and the harm it is causing real people. I respect your work and hope you reply in a way that gives you satisfaction but that is also respectful of the nature of your relationship with these friends that you have.
Hopefully they will become "enlightened" someday and I do hold out hope for my friends and family that are still entrapped by their religious overlords.
Good responses all, but yet there are some dumb atheists. Keep in mind that the made up dialog with the little girl is said simply to show that a child is smarter than an atheist. There are posts on You Tube showing Christians "how to make an atheist's head explode." The stupid answers to things usually start out "but the bible says", etc. It makes me laugh out loud.
Examples of some dumb atheists:
"I don't believe in god because he wouldn't let people suffer."
"I don't believe in god because he wouldn't send you to hell."
"I don't believe in god coz my daddy died."
This can go on and on with stupid crap having no evidence to back it up. Belief in god most likely started out with your family indoctrinating you and using the "sacred scriptures" of your faith to back it up. Some people simply do not believe because they are "rebelling." (Most christians think this of us.) That's why the christian thinks atheists are stupid. Christians know (or think they know) what the bible says. To be an effective atheist YOU should know this too. I became an atheist when I realized I had studied enough to know that all that scripture shit was made up!
While I agree that these are some of the "Atheist arguments" Christians will set up to knock down with their "But the Bible Says," I would stop short of calling these people "dumb atheists." One has to start somewhere in their questioning of faith, and many people do indeed start with theodicy.
I do agree though, that to a Christian, they think that we all are just rebelling against God and deep down must know he exists. I remember my well meaning mom giving me a book about "When someone in the the church has hurt you."
Response could include that any person with a couple brain cells to rub together would be able to speculate on the nature of the shit. Shit forms could be a result of the type of food the animal has eaten, what shape the intestine is that the shit comes out of, how much liquid the animal had that day, whether or not the animal has a stomach bug that would cause diarrhea, how often the animal had eaten, etc.
Also, what the hell does shit have to do with religion, other than give the child a potty mouth that shocks the other person into silence? I'd wager the strawman above is not thinking about how to refute the shit argument, rather strawman is thinking about washing the child's mouth out with soap, how to get the soap, what size bar to use, what flavor soap (hmm....Lux or Ivory? No, Dial. Definitely Dial.), how long to leave the soap in, etc.
No atheist I know would proselytize like this. It's a horrendous strawman written by someone who has read too many Chick Tracts.
Also this is obviously written by someone religious since god, heaven and hell are all capitalized.
Thanks, Reg; the various soap options are nice choices.
You can count on me for sudsy business.
I unfriended an acquaintance on FB that put that story up. I thought if she was that juvenile and stupid I didn't want to know her at all. I was going to point out to her that it seemed she was an expert on knowing SHIT, but I didn't bother. I think Tom Sarbeck has the best reply!
Chad, by all means, point out logical fallacies as you find them. I try very hard to catch those little devils and it is not easy, unless you deal with legal stuff, debate or maybe even deal with language. In fact, I didn't see the "straw man" that you recognized. I/we are here to learn how to think critically and I need all the help I can get. I know the principles, but in reality, I am ignorant.
So, professor Chad, bring forth your wisdom and experience.