Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Sky Fairy

I have decided not to talk about "God" anymore, but instead in future I will use the synonym the "sky-fairy". There is no evidence that the sky-fairy actually exists, but it's comforting for some people to believe in it, and to ascribe to it magical powers. The sky-fairy is supposedly more powerful than its relatives, the tooth-fairy and "the wicked witch of the east."
The sky-fairy is believed by some to have created the universe. Yes, I know this sounds ridiculous, but this idea has persisted from ancient times, before there were more rational explanations, for example for thunder and lightning and living organisms. Some believe that the sky-fairy was responsible for "intelligent design" but actually the sky-fairy (if it exists) would not be that intelligent. If it were responsible for the design of all the complex creatures in the world it would have to be at least as intelligent and complex as they are, and there is no evidence for that. And then who would have created the sky-fairy itself?
This article is based on "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins, who elegantly demolishes all the arguments that have been proposed throughout history for God's existence (sorry I mean the sky-fairy's existence) and for "intelligent design." The best argument proposed for ID is a version of the "watch analogy." If a primitive man walking along a road found a watch lying there, he would assume that it had been made by a more intelligent being than himself. Quite true, but the argument by analogy, that the primtive man is us and the watch represents the universe, is really stretching it. From a philosophical pov there is no validity to this argument, since the "intelligent" man who made the watch had to have been made in turn, and who made him, the sky-fairy, but then who made the sky-fairy, and that presupposes exactly what the argument is supposed to be trying to prove in the first place. Also, the watch could have been a computer, and the primitive man would have no idea what it was for, although a modern child would. And the child would know how to plug it in and that someone (a man not the sky-fairy) wrote the program to make it work, so much for this argument "by design."
OK, this is all somewhat tongue-in-cheek. But, behind it lurks a serious (or sinister?) purpose. That is to expose the fact that theists really haven't got a leg to stand on, except the prosthesis that they call "faith" (or belief without evidence), although they should be able to explain why they go to such lengths to maintain their belief system with such commitment.


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