Christianity Thomas on 01 Mar 2012 12:46 am
In the last post we discussed Richard Dawkins’s agnosticism. The first comment on the post calls Dawkins’s position intellectually honest. But is it honesty or waffling? Consider these three points:
First there is this comment about Santa:
I know with certainty that Santa does not exiat. Why? Because there are claims about Santa that are provably untrue.
Same for God. There are many claims about God that are provably untrue. Many other claims are contradictory, meaning impossible. If Richard Dawkins cannot see something that obvious he is not thinking clearly.
Dawkins says that “reason alone could not propel one to total conviction that anything definitely does not exist.” But that is not true. We know with certainty that the Santa described in popular culture – a man living at the North Pole, manufacturing toys and distributing them world wide via flying reindeer, etc. – does not exist. Reason alone does in fact propel one to total conviction that Santa definitely does not exist. A flight over the North Pole confirms it. A survey of the toys received by poor children on Christmas morning confirms it. There are many ways to understand that Santa is imaginary.
Second there is the problem of infinity. If it is true that “reason alone could not propel one to total conviction that anything definitely does not exist,” then one must entertain the possibility of existence of anything anyone dreams up. A murderer walks into court and claims that a perfect doppelganger of him beamed down from an alien spaceship committed the crime and he is therefore innocent. Must we now entertain this proposition? Of course not. Lacking any evidence, we dismiss the imaginary aliens. The rule is: if you have no evidence, we do not have to consider your fairies.
Third, the fact that we entertain and provide harborage for any belief in God, even though God is clearly imaginary, means we have to put up with insane people spouting off about this imaginary being at every turn. Rick Santorum and Rick Perry are cases in point, and there are millions more like them. Think of all the suffering experienced by slaves, women, “witches”, people of different faiths, gays, etc. because we allow the belief in an imaginary God to fester.
Dawkins is not being intellectually honest. Santa is certainly imaginary. God is certainly imaginary. We should state this clearly, and treat those who believe in imaginary beings accordingly.