Monday, March 24, 2014

The Pitiful Argument and the Pendulum

Prove this

This is the oh-so-clever trapping method that you may have notice on the film, Contact, in which Jodie’s character, Elenor Arrowy, informs Matthew McConaughey’s character, Palmer Joss, that she’d need proof to believe in God. He then asks her, in a truly shmucky move:

"Did you love your father?"

"Yes, very much."

"Prove it."

This little ‘trap’ of his is truly inane. Maybe it’s Matthew’s douchiness that makes me say this, but it’s moreso than the one that I just witnessed on Twitter. Although this still sits up there with emotional appeals. There is a nice difference, however, in what happened in that movie and what happens here.

Our theist, Vincy, here attempts that kind of emotional appeal to us in reply to Adam’s RT and summary of the pope’s tweet. You can see, it will not go well for him:


sin is not real

That emotional appeal pissed me off, and rightfully so. Maybe not as much as Matthew I worship my future self McConaughey, but that’s because he’s speculating on Twitter rather than ruining Sagan’s work with cheap Hollywood banter.

Yes, folks, these are cheap tricks that don’t do jack shit to show anything logically. One can never prove they love someone. People together for 50 years can think they love one another, but never really know if the person loves them. You simply trust them and hope they love you in return. And this hardly has anything in common with the subject at hand.

You can’t prove you love someone, yet you do. So that must mean that even if I can’t prove that a big, angry, jealous guy created everything and will send you to eternal punishment if you don’t believe in him, it’s still possible and you’d be a hypocrite to require proof of me when I tell you that you need to obey what’s in a book. No. It’s not. I simply claim to love someone. You claim something outlandish and massively ridiculous.

Dude, you didn’t prove that sin exists. And with the answers he had in return, he found that his religion has no pass on child abuse either. After all, forced genital mutilation? Threats and fear of eternity for disobedience? Why do I feel these things are wrong? Because I have a brain and use it for more than just fearing something because a book tells me to.

And neither did these guys let him get away with these attempts. This is where things were different. Ellie was silenced by Palmer’s question, because Contact was made to appease religious nutcases and completely ruined Sagan’s actual feelings on the matter of believe vs. science. But on Twitter, as you could see above, I was not silenced at all. Neither were these fine folks, who answered back very nicely:

sin is not real2

In the book, as opposed to the movie, Ellie and Palmer were never love interests. He opposed her in a very civil way, and she countered by demonstrating her “faith” in science using an extremely clever method with a giant pendulum. While he believes, but cannot know anything about what Sky Man is doing, he’s left with no real ability to say he trusts at all. He’ll always question what that guy’s up there doing.

She, however, has complete faith that when she sets the pendulum by her face and lets it go, when it returns, there’s no way it can possibly hit her in the face, because it will have had to have lost momentum on the way. And while she knows this and doesn’t flinch, he does flinch.

So if one can make these kind of arguments, so can the other. The big difference, as always, is that science can back up their claims with proof, since they were made from observations. Religion has not.

Once again, we win.