Theists, Cargo Cults, and Logic

So tired of religious apologists asking me to show evidence for the non-existence of their particular god. I've asked them how they would go about showing evidence for the non-existence of the dragon in Carl Sagan's garage or Russell's celestial teapot. They assert that the analogy is false, but don't explain how. They use words like 'logic' or 'inference' as if they were magic charms without fully understanding what these words mean. It's not unlike superstitious primitives from a cargo cult making mockups of radio towers, runways, and rifles in the hopes that they can magically make the cargo come back. Theists have no idea how logic works. They wave about the terminology of logic like mockup bamboo props hoping to conjure validity.

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Comment by Michael Penn on May 22, 2013 at 12:11pm

I agree with Two Cult Survivor. The theist already knows that he is correct, and he has the evidence, the Holy Bible - the "word of God." The theist puts it on YOU to show evidence that God is non-existent and he walks around talking to you like a person with an invisible mouse in his pocket. He knows the mouse is there, he tells you so, but he can can never show it to you. A theist can never just say that "he doesn't know" about anything. His belief is "God said it, I believe it, and that settles it." His Bible is a "beginning and end" of everything.

Now let's deal with this Bible, this "evidence." Take 66 people over a long period of time and have them write about anything, remotely or directly. Put these writings all together and call it one book explaining the beginning and end of whatever you think is being written about. Number this book in a way that you can put subjects together "proving" what it is all about. The 66 original writers might be appalled at the Frankenstein you came up with. The theists call it the "word of God." I call it our Bible.

Imagine this another way. All will not know it or remember, but the late Johnny Cash had a song  about a "bootleg car" called "One Piece At A Time." The car that was made here is sort of like how I imagine our Bible.

Comment by Two Cult Survivor on May 22, 2013 at 9:58am

They mistake logic with internal consistency.

If you show a theist that his views are internally inconsistent, you will have some measure of success. He will make a good faith (ha!) effort at modifying his views to make them more internally consistent. The problem, as we know from the outside looking in, is that the internal inconsistency of all theism is a direct reflection of its utter illogic: the effort to be internally consistent is doomed to fail.

A humble theist will not hesitate to recognize that his own views on his own religion are incomplete, and therefore he has room to grow. A new piece of information that contradicts an old mindset can be handled in one of two ways: Change the mindset, or explain the new piece of information in a way that preserves the mindset. I guess there's a third way: ignore or dismiss the new information.

Logic does not point to the existence of God, nor can it. So when a theist talks about logic, he does so from a framework of already believing in Him. All new information is processed in light of that mindset. It is not a quest for logic, but for internal consistency.

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