Field of Science

Ray Comfort. Clever? Maybe, but horses protest

In case you are new to this whole science-religion clash going on, by and large behind the scene, in this country, you may not have heard of Ray Comfort. He is slightly infamous for a particular argument he made in 2001 regarding bananas, which has culminated with him earning the title bananaman.



Lorax's Points of contention:
1. The banana numbnuts has is not a wild god-manufactured item. It is an artifically selected beast derived from something akin to this:





2. Based on Bananaman's rationale, it seems like the banana is specially designed for another purpose, although the non-slip feature could be problematic.


3. Yep, the pomegranate. What the hell was bananaman's god thinking when he pulled the pomegranate out of his omniscient ass?


Now the reason I bring bananaman up is that he "writes" books. I use the quotes, because I use write loosely. Its better than a roomful of monkey's with keyboards, but I think that's mostly because of all the bananas. Bananaman writes books and has a blog. Much of his points are based on clever (again I use that loosely) arguments, you know like the banana one above. Anyway Bananaman wrote a cute little blog post called The Atheist Starter Kit. Its 10 important things all atheists need to know before getting started. (By the way, I won't link to bananaman's blog directly, but anyone that can break away from the awe inspiringness of a banana can find it with no problems). I am still under the gun with real life writing, but I thought I could keep my foot in the blogosphere by hitting on these 10 things in a series of posts.

So without further delay and in no particular order

THE ATHEIST STARTER KIT
If you are a beginner atheist, there's a belief system you should embrace and a language you should learn, or you will find yourself in trouble. Here are ten suggestions for the novice:


Suggestion 3. When you hear that you have everything to gain and nothing to lose (the pleasures of Heaven, and the endurance of Hell) by obeying the Gospel, say "That's just the old 'Pascal wager.'"

Well in fact it is Pascal's wager/gambit. Since you have everything to gain and nothing to lose you should just go with the god exists hypothesis. Despite the blatant absurdity with this approach, I wonder how bananaman feels about the fact that Pascal thought there was no evidence to support the god hypothesis and thus no rationale to believe it either. However, if you think its a win-win deal, you should hedge your bets.

Is it a win-win? As stated you have nothing to lose, nope nothing, not 10% of your income, not time, not energy. If you go Bananaman's way you don't have to give up ignorance or a sense of foreboding and confusion about the world around you. Just go back into your cave being afraid of the thunder and don't walk too far or you may fall off the edge of the world. Hmm, that doesn't sound too win-win to me.

Also, dont use Bananaman's response "That's just the old 'Pascal wager,'" go with "You're Right, Damn, why didn't I think of that! All Hail Mohammed! I mean Odin! I mean Yahweh! I mean Shiva! I mean.....oh crap. Bananaman, do you simply wager on all the gods? Because they all tend to be jealous insecure little pricks." Indeed theologians in other religions have made similar appeals.

Finally, if you are simply hedging your bets and paying lip service to Shiva, wouldn't Shiva kind of figure out you were full of shit? I mean this is a god we're talking about right? Of course I have failed to consider the hypothesis that when people refer to omniscient gods, they really only refer to omniscient in regards to your sexual habits otherwise they are kind of clueless. Dawkins has actually suggested a counter-gambit that if there is a god(s), maybe it would reward a striving for learning and knowledge. It may reward those who try to understand the universe or the moral and good people. Maybe those into blind ignorant faith or live lives of asocial superiority and hatred of their fellows are going to piss god off royally.

5 comments:

Rose Tyler said...

lolRayComfort.

His special brand of stupid has the potential to become an internet meme in the vein of "lolcats".

Now, pardon my ignorance (I'm not a fan of eating fruit- actually I don't eat any) but how *do* you eat a pomegranate? I was in a play called "The Mouse That Roared" in high school and one of the characters ate a pomegranate in every scene, and he'd always eat it like an apple- and then we found out it's not really eaten that way...after we finished the show. We never did find out how you eat one...

Vronvron said...

Rose Tyler said...

"how *do* you eat a pomegranate?"

See
"How to De-Seed a Pomegranate"

http://mideastfood.about.com/
od/tipsandtechniques/ss/
deseedpomegrana.htm

The Lorax said...

You eat the seeds, which are somewhat difficult to get to as they are hidden in a variety of little chambers. Plus you better expect to get everything red, because the juice is everywhere. Taste great though.

Mike Haubrich, FCD said...

I like to point out that Psscal invented the Roulette wheel whenever I get posed the "Pascal's Wager" approach to faith.

Like you say, you only get one chip on this roulette wheel, and you don't get to hedge your bets by going "red or black." You have to pick a number.

sunnyskeptic said...

Oh Ray and the banana... Yes, there are a lot of newbies at the meet ups who have never heard of Ray Comfort, and I always tell them how lucky they are! :)