Storm, by Tim Minchin

Thanks to rationalbritain for making me aware of this BRILLIANT beat poem on rationalism.

8 comments on “Storm, by Tim Minchin

  1. I think were it’s stated, “those of us on the side of reality”,(paraphrase) it’s a bit of a hidden argument there, a bit of a begging-the-question fallacy, in this article.

    You could re-phrase it, “those of us on the side of thinking correctly” and then that would highlight the rather boring kind of smugness you get from these ad nauseam atheist diatribes that float around the web. Not that there aren’t equally if not more irritating theist diatribes but if you’re going to allude to the fact that you are the kings of rationalism, then I am going to hold you to that very standard.

    I think the pattern-seeking thing is true enough, I see it as a rather nice thing (that cross), but if I am honest, the rotary motor in a bacteria flaggellum impresses me slightly more. Sure, the cross-pattern is nice, but do we all see it as iron-clad proof of God? No, the term proof would be incorrect, if that’s what those believers said it was, which I don’t know, therefore it could just be a strawman argument of what those believers supposedly said.

    The comment about re-growth of limbs, I think really that’s something of a logical mistake in that there is an unfair DEMAND, if you will, from the atheist, that if God does not do X then God does not exist. Those of us on the side of reality, would say that the atheist is not going to qualify something that would evidence God, reasonably, but rather something that would disqualify him, unreasonably.

    For example, the autonomy of the shoulder in a human, 360 degrees movement, the ability to focus the eye, or the brilliance of the mechanical engineering behind the avian contraflow lungs, would normally, on a reasonable level, favour a thinking engineer rather than a blind process. So I see some UNREALISTIC demands here.

    For example if we lived in a world where re-growing limbs was the norm, would that therefore qualify God? Since the absence of evidence of it in humans apparently disproves him? It seems fair that it should, so if a starfish can re-grow it’s limbs, can I qualify that as evidence of God? —No, somehow I don’t think the atheist would let me, even though those of us on the side of reality can see that a designer adequately explains engineering contingencies in organisms more than a blind process does.—

    Now I am rational but I am not atheist, we must not conflate the two even though believers can show-off their irrational tendencies a lot.

    I think this article also hit on the ‘Problem of evil’, with an indirect stab at why bad things happen and God’s inaction, or diseased existing etc…..this is nothing new, but it should be noted that there are theological arguments that would disqualify those particular complaints.

    For example, if we live in a fallen world, where sin is the natural order of the world, then bad designs are not bad designs at all, but simply consequences of a perfect system which has become imperfect.

    I think it’s fair that if you are going to believe that there was a common ancestor that led to both trees from fleas, that I can believe that the world did not begin in the state it is in now. Afterall, that would be like saying that there was no such thing as a cold climate, because you had only ever lived in a warm one.

    Kind regards, from rational Theist on the side of reality, rather than your version of it.

  2. I think you’ve posted in the wrong article. But, since I know what you’re getting at, if you link to the article you intended to reply to, we’ll plough on regardless, just in case anyone subscribed to the comments for this posting are interested in following up.

    Firstly, when someone accredits Yahweh with their successful job application, or healing of a curable disease, or the winning of an Academy Award—things for which the person, their medicine or their talents are in fact responsible—it stands in contrast to those things which we cannot ourselves achieve or control. We cannot grow back our severed limbs and neither do we say God can. He is only ever credited with doing what we have in fact done for ourselves. When He is credited with or asked to do what we cannot do ourselves, we make the argument for the God of the gaps. This matter of fact seems to allude some people, so it’s worth restating.

    Now, unless someone is incapable, mentally, of learning something new, or is, in fact, more likely to believe something is true, the more evidence there is shown which proves they are wrong, no-one, as a general rule, believes in things which they know to be false. Clearly people believe what they believe is true, otherwise they wouldn’t believe it. But that we have to point out this blindingly obvious fact at all, speaks to the level to which some on both ‘sides’ of the argument have stooped, in their fascination with not merely proving their beliefs are true, but actively disproving the beliefs of others.

    The problem with this black or white approach, from the theist side, is that it incorrectly claims numinous experiences, meditative states, group solidarity and compassion are exclusive to the religious. So too atheist often assert that rationalism and awe for the true beauty of the universe, are unavailable to the religious—simply because they have a different word for certain mysteries of nature or new areas of our understanding.

    Unfortunately for theists, it isn’t that they have failed to explain to non-theists what they believe to be true in sufficient detail. It is the fact that nothing has ever become better understood, or described, than it was previously understood or described, by superimposing theistic notions upon deistic reasoning. Far too many people borrow from one, in order to justify the other. They trick themselves into this, because they mix and match a “there must be something out there” belief, which for purposes of brevity people use the word God to encapsulate, with a concurrent yet contradictory belief in a completely different definition of God than that given in Judeo Christian theology—which espouses an intervening, omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent triune deity as a presuppositional fact, despite exactly zero evidence that such an entity exists. That doesn’t mean there is “nothing out there”, it simply means that whatever there is out there, if there is anything at all, it isn’t Yahweh. Hence a-theism, as opposed to a-deism.

    So when we pose the question, “on which day did Yahweh invent childhood cancer?”, we’re not merely providing a cast-iron, real world argument against the notion that He is the arbiter of absolute morality we are so often told he is, we’re also inviting those who nevertheless assert this to explain their own contradiction. The burden of proof is upon those who assert as a fact that which they cannot prove, not upon those who point out the paradox. This shouldn’t be mistaken for placing a “demand upon God” to perform an act. It is merely applying the very same reasoning to which we’re instructed to take on faith, back upon itself, in order to expose one or more inherent logical fallacies.

    Nobody said theists are supposed to like this uncomfortable fact, but pointing it out shouldn’t be mistaken for malice aforethought. We do not lack faith, when we gain reason. Merely do we prefer, instead, to place that faith in things which are worthy of our consideration. Placing ones faith in things which are not worthy of our best efforts, is as nonsensical to you as it is to me—and yet you would insist that I do exactly this, simply to accommodate ideas which you have yet to prove have any basis in fact.

    I have no idea what you mean by “trees from fleas”.

  3. Pingback: A new comment in the wrong thread | The Absolute morality of Yahweh « How good is that?

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