Is Truth an Accident? Re: [FoRK] Is God an Accident?

Stephen D. Williams < sdw at > on > Sat Sep 23 12:33:22 PDT 2006

Stephen D. Williams wrote:
> This is the traditional description of the range of non-theism.  The 
> problem with it is that it doesn't really capture the Occam's Razor / 
> scientific approach viewpoint which is what many of us have:
> If you only believe and reason with what you have evidence for, and 
> you interpret evidence via Occam's Razor and via the scientific 
> principle, and you have any reasonable amount of modern knowledge 
> about psychology, physiology, sociology, history, memetics, and other 
> relevant ideas then you can firmly conclude that:
> A) Gods and other supernatural things are not at all likely to exist 
> since it is far more likely that belief in the supernatural, 
> afterlife, and other mystical concepts are stubbornly replicating bad 
> (i.e. not based on reality) memes.
> B) Belief in the supernatural has, at best, neutral net benefit to the 
> believer and those they affect on average (as opposed to the 
> money-/sex-collecting and power wielding 
> priest/minister/rabbi/sheik/witch doctor/astral projector 
> operator/alien communication specialist for whom religion, in others, 
> makes perfect sense).
> C) Even if supernatural things do exist, they have had no predictable 
> and verifiable affect for at least a couple thousand years, so it is 
> not productive or
> useful to believe in them.  Relying on a very likely erroneous 
> interpretation of the supernatural world to make Pascal's Wager is 
> very unlikely to be correct.  Being optimistic, for example, in the 
> face of mixed evidence has far more logical support.
> D) Even if something apparently supernatural did present itself, 
> knowing that any sufficiently advanced technology is magic to those 
> ignorant of it, knowing that we have recently accomplished quite a bit 
> of magic and seem poised to embark on some serious magic relatively 
> soon, we would have to conclude that we were simply ignorant of the 
> technology embodied in said supernatural presentation.  The obvious 
> course of action is to display curiosity and employ the scientific 
> method and/or political skills to learn.
> E) If gods did exist, they are unlikely to want us to worship them in 
> the way that any existing religion teaches.  If they do, they are 
> immature, spoiled brats and I don't want anything to do with them 
> anyway.  (See The Q and Greek Mythology.)
And the Bible, Torah, Kuran/Quran/Coran(o), etc.
Those documents of course are part religious mysticism, part religious 
replication, and part received wisdom of the ages, frozen at some point 
in the ancient past.  To the extent that the combination of these form a 
cultural education, they were pretty influential, especially in medieval 
and other times / places where they might have formed one of the few 
positive story archives.  Now days, the bulk of our cultural education 
is based on far more.

Interesting how the Quran seems almost modern in its marketing / 
hucksterism: "It slices, it dices, it will clean your drain, ...":
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Da'wah and Guidance:   [ <- 
arghhh, no Oxford Comma, I have no respect for their English]

The virtues of the Quran:
    Quran is the exposition of every thing
    Quran is the words of Allah
    Quran is true from Allah
    The superior excellence of the words of Allah
    Quran is the best speech
    The merit of adherence to Quran
    The state of tranquillity during the recitation of Quran
    Mountains collapse when the Quran is sent down on them
    Quran is the best of medicines
    Adherence to the Quran and the Sunnah
    Quran is the way out of seditions
    The numerous names and characteristics of Quran
    Ensuring accuracy of Quran transmission

> Therefore, in the limit, [Gg]od{s} and other supernatural things do 
> not exist.
> Humans do exist, and humans can decide to do positive or negative 
> things based on their beliefs.  See Secular Humanism and the 
> Scientific Principle.
> As for a hair analogy:
> If I can't see or touch my hair, and it never grows into my eyes, and 
> other people can't see my hair, then I can safely conclude that I am 
> bald.  If I'm not bald because my hair is invisible and has no mass, 
> it doesn't really matter because for all my purposes, it would be 
> indistinguishable from being bald and hair doesn't really need me to 
> believe in it anyway.
> sdw
> Albert S. wrote:
>> To be thorough there are(at least) two kinds of
>> Atheism. The absence of a belief in God(s) is soft
>> Atheism or Agnosticism. Some have a belief that there
>> is no God(s) which is hard Atheism.
>> Agnostics are theologically bald. For hard atheists
>> their hair grows backwards into their heads. Their
>> hair has color but you can't tell what it is.
>> All that I know, is that I know nothing.
>> Albert
>> --- Eugen Leitl <eugen at> wrote:

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