Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Common Sense Is Tingling: Debunking Christianity: Quote of the Day, by Jesse Bering

John Loftus posted the following quote by Jesse Bering and I don't understand something:

Does all this disprove God? Of course not. Science speaks only to the improbable, not the impossible. If philosophy rules the day, God can never be ruled out entirely, because one could argue that human cognitive evolution was directly and intentionally inspired by God, so we alone, of all species, can perceive Him (and reality in general) using our naturally evolved theory of mind. But if scientific parsimony prevails, and I think it should, such philosophical positioning becomes embarrassingly like grasping at straws. (The Belief Instinct, p. 195-
Given my confusion may be because I haven't read this in context of the entire book but I want to know how is it grasping at straws? Bering agrees that God cannot be ruled out. God created everything including how we think then He has made a relationship with Him dependent on revelation by Him. In effect we don't have the tools to independently confirm God's existence without Him. Considering there is nothing at all for which we have complete independence, this shouldn't be a surprise. I also don't know why this is problematic.

43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. - John 6:43-59

Debunking Christianity: Quote of the Day, by Jesse Bering


  1. I want to know how is it grasping at straws? Bering agrees that God cannot be ruled out.

    You are almost there I think. The point being that you shouldn't believe something that is extremely improbable unless you have good reason. For example, even though it's absolutely not impossible that Noah live on Pangea 175 million years ago, it's not rational to believe that he did knowing what we know about geology and primate evolution. In the same way, god and even your specific god is not impossible.

    I'm sure you'll claim that your nebulous personal relationship is the good reason, but somehow I think that’s not actually the case if you really examine it.

  2. Just because you never had a relationship with God does not mean no one ever has. I'm still waiting to see your proof that it is not rational to think that Noah or anyone never lived on Pangea, given there is still much we don't know or understand about what Pangea was like. There is nothing in the Bible giving us enough information to date Noah or the flood.