punchline bridge to algebra 2nd ed 112 Things To Avoid In Punchline Bridge To Algebra 12nd Ed
Historian Richard Carrier accurately illustrates the consequence of Christian claims by assuming its abode in a alternation of exponentially accretion claims. I’ll abridge my estimation here, but for his adaptation see Why I Am Not a Christian (35–9).
It’s one affair to accept anniversary footfall in a alternation beat its antecedent artlessly in degree. For example, “I accept a chicken car” is a narrower (and added surprising) affirmation than “I accept a car.” It is altered in amount artlessly because there are beneath chicken cars than cars of any color. Let’s alarm this a linear progression.
More absorbing are accomplish that are altered in kind, an exponential progression. This is absolutely a awkward use of “linear” and “exponential,” but I anticipate it suggests the consequence of aberration amid changes in amount and the added affecting changes in kind.
Here are bristles accomplish in an exponential progression. Claims at anniversary footfall become added unlikely.
1. Claims that are common such as, “I own a car.” In genitalia of the apple area car buying is common, this is not a hasty claim.
2. Claims that are uncommon such as, “I own a third-century Christian manuscript.” This is actual uncommon—there ability be aloof dozens of individuals who can accomplish this affirmation rather than the hundreds of millions who could affirmation car ownership—but it’s plausible.
3. Claims that are unprecedented such as, “I own a 400-foot-long nuclear-powered submarine.” Such submarines do exist and no new science would be bare for this to be a accurate statement. Nevertheless, the facts that there is no almanac of a actuality owning such a thing, they are actual difficult to steal, and they are awfully big-ticket to body makes this affirmation actual implausible.
4. Claims that are extraordinary today (but conceivably reasonable tomorrow) such as, “I own a time machine.” These machines do not exist today. New science and technology would be bare to body one, if it could be congenital at all. On the optimistic side, altruism continues to bare new science and ad-lib new technology, so a affirmation in this class ability become accessible in the future.
5. Claims after precedent such as, “A abnormal actuality created aggregate and interacts with bodies on apple today.” This affirmation is popular, but it is congenital on nothing. There is no cold affirmation of any supernatural being, let abandoned one that created the universe.
We can brainstorm addition architecture a time apparatus (Wells’ The Time Machine, 1895 or Back to the Future, 1985), and we can brainstorm God absolute himself to an accustomed man (The Shack, 2007 or Genesis, aboriginal millennium BCE). These imaginings may be desirable, but they are fiction.
Of course, billions of bodies today accept in some aberration of this abnormal claim, but because these abounding claims are mutually adverse they do added to altercate that bodies ad-lib religions than that god(s) exist. The Christian who agilely credibility to the billions who accept in a abnormal article will additionally be quick to attenuate this acceptance by abnegation an all-roads-lead-to-God attitude.
Christian apologists beforehand “God did it!” in acknowledgment to a accurate impasse such as “How did activity originate?” or “What came afore the Big Bang?” but they avoid how far-fetched the abnormal affirmation is. They abash acquaintance with plausibility, and on this exponential scale, God isn’t accidentally plausible.
When chief amid two aggressive theories, always go with the one that doesn’t absorb a abracadabra spell.— Emo Philips
(This is an amend of a column that originally appeared 12/27/12.)
Photo credit: Kevin Dooley, flickr, CC
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