16 September 2007

Riddle Me This...

Okay, I just find the Carnival of the Godless enormously entertaining. Once in a while, I even agree with some of the entries.

The first one just amuses the hell out of me. From Principles of Parsimony: "Because unless you fancy having a god who doesn't have one attribute that couldn't be replicated in a cheese sandwich, science will be able to have a say on whether that god is real. And you probably won't like the answer."

To which I just want to say, "YES! You Understand!" Okay, so I object to the use of a cheese sandwich, due to gluten issues, but let's just say a slice of cheese. Seriously. This guy gets it, but he probably doesn't know he gets it, and more than likely would have no clue what it is that he gets, and might even be upset that I think he gets it. But still, Bravo!. Sadly, he actually considers the cheese-comparison to be an insult. So he doesn't quite get it. `/^

At this point, there are probably a few readers grinning and laughing along with me. There are probably many more staring at the screen in puzzlement, muttering to themselves. There might even be a few getting angry with me, though I find it interesting that you would grant me that much power over your emotional state. If you have no clue what I'm talking about, pick up a spoon or a pillow or anything not particularly breakable. Now, hold it several feet off the ground and let go. SEE! Gravity! They even leave it on on weekends! Eh, I've probably said too much now.

And one more: From hell's handmaiden, we have this rather revealing question:

Now let’s talk about Homer– the one that wrote the Iliad, not the one that likes donuts. If we found in Homer a passage where the soul is described as dissipating into the wind at death, and another where it is described as descending to the shadowy underworld, would we go out of our way to reconcile the two concepts? If we noticed that two ancient authors give conflicting reports about the parentage of some god or goddess, would we spend our days reasoning the discrepancies into agreement? If we noticed that the time line in some tale could not possibly be accurate, would we spend generations constructing elaborate corrections? If we found a passage that tells us that Zeus is slow to anger and just, and another that tells us he is short-tempered and vengeful, how many minds would we put to work building a bridge between the ideas that we can somehow argue that the two are not contradictory? How much effort would we waste reconciling peculiarities in the Enuma Elish? How much energy would we expend arguing that when the Egyptians talked about the four corners of the Earth they were really talking about a sphere, and when the Babylonians talked about the ‘dome’ of the heavens they were really describing the solar system as scientists now understand it? How large an edifice of definition, association, and inference would we build to prove that the Egyptian hierarchy of gods, which comes almost in almost as many varieties as there were temples, is in fact utterly self consistent? How much time would it be before we concluded the obvious– that the accounts are just not consistent?

Incidentally, if there is a discrepancy so obvious and noticeable that it requires explanation, that in itself is proof of the non-inerrancy of the text. Period. Otherwise inerrancy itself becomes meaningless.


John said...

The post from Principles of Parsimony makes the same point I did in my post on why NOMA doesn't work.

As soon as religion say something testable, it becomes a question science can (and will) examine.

Science can't actually prove that God, Maxwell's demon, or Celestial Dragons don't exist, but as long as the universe behaves rationally and consistently, they might as well not.

Qalmlea said...

LOL. I disagree, but that's okay. There's no rational reason that I disagree.

Qalmlea said...

Hmmm... there really aren't any words to explain this. The best I can do is appeal to Robert Jordan's idea of the Pattern, and all the threads being woven together. I think the Chinese term for this idea is "Li". Try to pull on one thread and a dozen, or a hundred, others come with it. Separation is illusion. The cheese sandwich is is interwoven as all the rest of it.

And that's not the whole thing, either, so I'm giving up for the moment.

John said...

"The fundamental interconnectednes of all things" - Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

I have no problem with that, although I only slightly agree.

I can't accept the idea that there's a conscious agent running it all. Especially one so insecure as to need bootlickers and toadies.

Qalmlea said...

Conscious? Maybe. Running things? No more than the laws of gravity, or electromagnetism, etc, are running things. I'd probably choose the word "aware" over conscious.

As for toadies... They have to pick an aspect to toady to. It's like...there are railroad tracks running all over, and they pick one particular section of track and insist that is the one true section, completely missing the rest of the connections. That's probably not the best analogy, but I can't think of a better one at the moment.

John said...

The religions that I have a problem with are the ones specifically pushing for "conscious and running things." Those are the ones insisting that every must believe as they do.

I can accept that other people disagree with me. I don't demand that everyone become Vulcans. (By the way, my biggest peeve against Star Trek is that Roddenberry used the words 'logic' and 'logical' when he clearly meant 'reason' and 'reasonable')

Everyone has to make sense of their lives and experiences themselves. I do believe in an objective reality, however. Science is the only tool we have to understand it.

I'm going to cut this rant short now.

Also, the classic analogy is an elephant examined by blind men.

John said...

As for Biblical innacuracy...

We call it "scrambling to explain Biblical nonsense."

They call it "theodicy." Which, sa far as I can tell means "scrambling to explain Biblical nonsense"

Qalmlea said...

My favorite is "apologetics": apologizing for when the bible doesn't make sense (usually by making even less sense)