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 IAmAnAtheist » Never Enough Proof

Never Enough Proof

The below item is part of my "Conversations" series.

An atheist and a Christian walking down the street after seeing a near-miss traffic accident

Liam: Did you see that? That car almost hit her!

Marissa: Why’s she in the middle of the street?

Liam: I don’t know. What a moron. She almost got creamed.

Marissa: God was definitely watching over her.

Liam: Then He should have told her to use the crosswalk.

Marissa: That’s not funny. Come on — why do you always have to make fun of me when I talk about God?

Liam: You know I don’t think there’s any God.

Marissa: Maybe you should at least think about the evidence instead of just making fun.

Liam: What evidence?

Marissa: There’s plenty of it.

Liam: Then why haven’t you mentioned it before. I’d like to see this "evidence."

Marissa: That sarcasm is exactly why I haven’t brought it up. You’re an atheist, so no amount of proof would ever be enough for you. No matter what I say, you’ll just say that it isn’t enough or it isn’t compelling.

Liam: Then let’s do this the other way around. How much proof is needed to prove God? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Marissa: That’s not true — they don’t need extraordinary evidence, they just need sufficient evidence.

Liam: Then what’s sufficient evidence?

Marissa: We’re just getting back to the same problem. No matter what I say, you’ll say it isn’t sufficient. It’s like this story I read in an old Superman comic. There was this little girl who won a day with Superman, but she was blind so Superman couldn’t convince her he was real. He took her in his arms and flew her around the world, but she said it was probably just a helicopter pulling them around on wires.

Liam: Do you think she was wrong to think that?

Marissa: She was wrong. It’s that simple.

Liam: It’s not that simple. Do you think that, given the evidence she had, the girl should have concluded that Superman existed.

Marissa: Yes.

Liam: If some stranger blindfolded you, picked you up, and flew you through the air, you’d conclude that the guy was Superman?

Marissa: No. Of course not.

Liam: Why?

Marissa: Superman’s not real.

Liam: Did the girl in the story believe Superman existed?

Marissa: I don’t think so.

Liam: Then why should she conclude Superman existed when you’d conclude that he didn’t? You’re using the same data.

Marissa: The difference is that I know that Superman doesn’t exist.

Liam: I know that God doesn’t exist.

Marissa: No you don’t. God’s real.

Liam: And your evidence of that is that if I knew God was real the evidence would convince me that God was real? That’s not very convincing.

Marissa: Only because you have a closed mind. You need to honestly consider all the options.

Liam: Then the little girl would have believed in Superman if she’d considered all the options.

Marissa: Yes.

Liam: Even if she really had been being carried around by a person attached to a helicopter.

Marissa: No. That’s not evidence for Superman. Why even bring that up?

Liam: Because you keep saying that evidence is either compelling or not compelling based on whether you know the truth before you see the evidence. That’s not how it works. For example, if you see a magician — a mentalist — who can reproduce a writing someone did on a pad of paper, do you believe the mentalist is really psychic?

Marissa: No. It’s a magic trick.

Liam: How does he do it?

Marissa: I don’t know, but that doesn’t matter. It’s a trick.

Liam: How do you know?

Marissa: Magicians do that kind of thing all the time.

Liam: And something isn’t real magic if it’s something a magician can do by fakery.

Marissa: You’re talking about things that are obviously tricks.

Liam: Like Criss Angel walking on water.

Marissa: Right.

Liam: So anyone who walks on water isn’t doing real magic, because it’s something a magician can do by fakery.

Marissa: You’re trying to get me to say that Jesus was a fake, but that won’t work. Jesus could really walk on water.

Liam: Then maybe Criss Angel can, too.

Marissa: No, he can’t. He’s just a magician.

Liam: Given two people walking on water, how do you know which one is doing it for real?

Marissa: Jesus is doing it for real.

Liam: Because Jesus can walk on water.

Marissa: Yes.

Liam: And again, you make a conclusion from the evidence based on whether or not it matches what you’ve already decided.

Marissa: At least I’m right.

Liam: At least you think you’re right. I think I’m right, too. In fact, I’ll bet you that girl thought she was right when she walked into the street without looking for cars.

Marissa: She turned out okay.

Liam: Only because she was lucky. I’d rather not rely on luck for things that are so important.


If you have a conversation that you’d like me to consider publishing on this blog or in an upcoming book, please see the conversation guidelines.

Posted on November 18, 2013 at 8:18 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: Conversations

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