Friday, August 8, 2014

Atheist on a plane

Here's a chain email that offers a story about what to do if you find yourself talking to an atheist...
THIS IS BRILLIANT… I NEED TO REMEMBER THE QUESTION WHEN NEXT I MEET AN ATHEIST.
An atheist was seated next to a little girl on an airplane and he turned
to her and said, "Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike
up a conversation with your fellow passenger."

The little girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to the total
stranger, "What would you want to talk about?"

"Oh, I don't know," said the atheist. "How about why there is no God,
or no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death?" as he smiled smugly.
Talk about an unlikely scenario. While it is fairly common for a believer to ask a stranger if they would like to speak about Jesus, the same is not true for most atheists. While I do enjoy talking about theology, I am never one to start the conversation. From my experience, this is pretty much true of most other atheists as well. We realize that religion can be a touchy subject, so we wait for that green light before sharing what we believe, or more accurately, don't.
"Okay," she said. "Those could be interesting topics but let me ask
you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same
stuff - grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns
out a flat patty, but a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?"
Wow, they are using this old story to counter atheism now? I must have seen a dozen different versions of this before. Replace the atheist with a president, change the topic, wash, rinse repeat.

That said, the question she asks is malformed. Horses, cows and deer don't actually eat the same thing. Horses and cows may both eat grass, but they usually eat different kinds. Horses are often fed grains as well. As for deer, they will eat just about any vegetation they can get their hooves on. So right off the bat, we see that all three have different diets. But what the hell, lets discuss why they have different looking excrement.

Even if they did eat the same diet, there would be many other factors at play. How much do they eat at once, and how fast. Differences in their teeth. How well and how long do they masticate their meal. Physical differences in the digestive system. How long the food is digested. How fast the meal passes through the digestive system. How efficiently nutrients are absorbed, and how much. Water content, etc.
The atheist, visibly surprised by the little girl's intelligence, thinks
about it and says, "Hmmm, I actually have no idea."

To which the little girl replies, "Well then, do you really feel qualified to discuss
God, Heaven and Hell, or life after death, when you don't know crap?"

And then she went back to reading her book.
 Well isn't that cute... Childish joke aside, this isn't even a good argument. Just because someone doesn't know about one topic, doesn't mean they don't know about another. Suppose there is an expert mathematician. He may not know how to change the oil or spark plugs on his car, but how does that effect his mastery of mathematics. He is very well versed in his area of expertise, and a mechanic is well versed in his. But someone not knowing about something that is generally considered to be more simple does not automatically rules them ineligible from being knowledgeable in a more advanced field or topic.

Why is it that chain emails always seem to be so poorly informed and draw such faulty conclusions?


-Brain Hulk

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