Saturday, May 09, 2009

Dear Richard: Please stop.

Seriously, please stop. You're making all Christians look like blithering retards.

AFTERSNARK: One can trivially rewrite Dick's inanity and have it sound just as rational.

1. God Galactus exists in human understanding as the greatest of all possible beings. (Even "the fool" who says in his heart "there is no God Galactus" has a definite sense of the being whose existence he is denying -- a supreme, greatest being for whom a greater being is, by definition, neither possible nor conceivable.)

2. The concept of God Galactus as the greatest possible being resides in our minds and is not an incoherent or nonsensical category of thought (unlike, e.g., flying spaghetti monsters, for whom atheists seem to have a particularly unhealthy obsession).

2. Something that exists only in our understanding is not as great as something that exists in reality. If God Galactus exists only in our minds but not in reality, it would in fact be possible to conceive of a greater being -- one who exists in reality.

3. Therefore, it would be contradictory to hold in our minds the concept of the greatest possible being and to deny his existence.

4. Therefore God Galactus, the greatest possible being, exists in reality as well as our understanding.

Galactus -- worship him.

You know you want to.

BY THE WAY, it's trivially easy to blow a gaping hole in Mr. Ball's alleged logic. Consider his axiom:

God exists in human understanding as the greatest of all possible beings.

That is demonstrably false, as I can easily imagine a greater possible being. Consider, if you will, Genesis 2:1-3:

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested [a] from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

Given that it was apparently necessary for God to "rest" after his six days of labour, I can trivially imagine a greater being -- one who didn't need to rest. And my imaginary being clearly trumps Mr. Ball's, being superior in the area of energy, durability and staying power. But it doesn't stop there.

Consider God's apparent confusion as he wanders around the Garden of Eden, trying to figure out what's up (emphasis tail-waggingly added):

8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"

10 He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."

11 And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"

12 The man said, "The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."

13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."

For someone who is allegedly omniscient, God strikes me as truly Twatsy-like in his cluelessness. My imaginary being, on the other hand, would simply have known what was happening, and would have had no need to ask.

I could go on but, really, what's the point? To suggest that the God of the Christian Bible is the greatest being possibly imaginable demonstrates an embarrassing ignorance of, well, pretty much everything. Which, when you think about it, kind of sums up Mr. Ball in a nutshell.


Mike said...

The man is a gibbering fool who is terrified of his own death.

Shocking that he cannot imagine people being good and moral without the threat of eternal damnation. I guess that means all that is keeping him from raping children and eating human flesh is that threat...kinda scary actually...

JABbering Stooge said...

Funny story: I frequented a now-defunct social-networking site aimed at college students. In one of the forums, there was some Christian was spouting off about how God was real and that he could use the ontological argument to prove it. An atheist replied, "That's ridiculous. I could use the ontological argument to prove that God is a purple hot dog."

wv="fishe" There's always something fishe about proofs for God's existence.

KEvron said...

fyi, "galactus" was my confirmation name.


Frank Frink said...

KEvron, was that after St. Galactus of Turin, St. Galactus of Ávila ot St. Galactus of Bohemia?

Jim said...

The difficulty with your use of Genesis, though, is your assumption that it is literal history. This is an error, I think, albeit a very popular one.

You must tell me more about this god that you do not believe in. I think I do not believe in him too.

ADHR said...

I find it odd that that's the part of the logic you picked on. Not because it's not bad logic, but it's not a standard reply to the ontological argument. More standard is to pick on the "what exists is greater than what can be conceived" point, as it seems to license all kinds of nonsense, if true. That's what makes your Galactus argument go through, after all: I can imagine Galactus; a real Galactus is, by the principle, greater than an imaginary Galactus; hence, Galactus is real.

What's really hilarious, from my perspective, is that he's smart enough to know what the ontological argument is, but not smart enough to know that there is a vast and overwhelming critical literature on it.

Chet Scoville said...

Yeah, ever since the Middle Ages there's been a long tradition of blowing up the ontological argument by saying you could imagine a perfect island, or a perfect cat, and that therefore said island and cat must exist -- not. The ontological argument is cleverly structured (I think so, anyhow), but it doesn't actually do any work.

Also, Jim's got a point: the argument about Genesis only works if one assumes that the term "God" in that argument is equivalent to the character as literally described in Genesis 2. Of course, the makers of the argument may well be making that assumption, but they might not be.

LogicallySpeaking said...

The ontological argument commits the fallacy of begging the question. Really nothing more needs to be said.

Chet Scoville said...

Or, there's that.

psa said...

"unlike, e.g., flying spaghetti monsters, for whom atheists seem to have a particularly unhealthy obsession"

get back to us on that one after we stage our first children's crusade you friend of sky-bully. no strippers for you. no beer volcano either.

Mike said...


Well that is the problem. I don't have be specific about any god or gods because I don't believe in any supernatural phenomena. None of it is supported by evidence. I don't really need to get too specific, I just need to know its supernatural to withhold my belief.

Of course, its a knife that cuts both ways. It is incumbent on the believer to be able to adequately define and describe this god of theirs.

But normally none can. "God is love" or "God is all knowing" are about as specific as it gets, and that is vague secondary characteristics, not primary ones. Getting more specific make it easy to refute.

Thus, people like Ball are caught in a strange position - either their description of God is specific and can thus be refuted by facts or it is so vague as to be meaningless. Either way, it is no evidence of existence.

Ball is desperately trying to convince himself of something that he is simply afraid might not be true.

In other words, the default position is to not believe until the believer can provide an adequate definition of that which they want everyone - by force if needed - to believe in.

KEvron said...

"Ball is desperately trying to convince himself of something that he is simply afraid might not be true."