Friday, May 14, 2010

David Roberston quote

I am reading Robertson's The Dawkins Letters: Challenging Atheist Myths. Thought this quote from one of his letters to Dawkins was very interesting:

“Do you seriously think the evidence for the God of the Bible is on the same level as the tooth fairy? You have not, for example, written a book on the Tooth Fairy Delusion. The evidence for God is on a completely different level. I suspect you know that but again in your rhetorical style the sound-bite put-down works so much better. Let me put it another way – if the only evidence that existed for Jesus Christ was the same as that which exists for the Flying Spaghetti Monster then I and millions of others would not believe in him.” p51.

The idea seems to be that if lots of people believe something, well then the evidence for what they believe must be, if not conclusive, then at least much better than that for e.g. the tooth fairy.

However:

(i) I don't remember Dawkins denying Jesus Christ existed.
(ii) When it comes to supernatural, paranormal type claims, the fact that loads of people believe something does not indicate that the evidence for what they believe must be reasonably good. Millions believe they've been abducted by aliens. Millions believe in astrology and psychic powers. And of course millions - hundreds of millions - of Christians believe the entire universe is 6,000 years old.
(iii) Dawkins even comes up with some interesting explanations for why people will hold religious belief whether or not there's any evidence for theism.

There may be devastating critiques of Dawkins but this isn't one.

8 comments:

Fergus Gallagher said...

Well, you can see his evidence at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2r1GPGDWrI&feature=player_embedded

I particularly like the killer 'Proof by Look at all the Pretty Flowers' (ca. 6:20)

Tige said...

A person may have existed on whom the character of Jesus Christ is based, but that person would not BE Jesus Christ any more than a person on whom Sherlock Holmes could have been based was actually Sherlock Holmes.

And without actual historical evidence, nothing can actually be said about such a historical person, so you are left exclusively with the myth.

If Conan Doyle based Holmes on a real person, who is to say.

Mark Jones said...

"Let me put it another way – if the only evidence that existed for Jesus Christ was the same as that which exists for the Flying Spaghetti Monster then I and millions of others would not believe in him."

But one can say:

Let me put it another way – if the evidence for Jesus Christ was so good then millions of others would not hold different beliefs.

...and we're back at square one; his point is pointless.

Steven Carr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steven Carr said...

Is there evidence for the Tooth Fairy?

Matthew 17:27

Jesus said to him. "But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin.



Who else could have left that coin in the mouth except the Tooth Fairy?

Auto and Trucks said...

I'm chasing of information laws. thanks

ABC said...

The evidence for God is on a completely different level. I suspect you know that but again in your rhetorical style the sound-bite put-down works so much better. Let me put it another way – if the only evidence that existed for Jesus Christ

Notice the conflation of 'evidence for God' with 'evidence for Jesus Christ' as well - having sufficient evidence to support the existence of an historical figure hardly supports the idea that they were also some kind of divine entity.

Billy said...

Robertson has been shown to be somewhat deliberately dishonest in the past concerning his agenda against Dawkins, so be prepared for more of the same http://richarddawkins.net/articles/2285

This is a man who thinks atheist artists are being inconsistent http://www.stpeters-dundee.org.uk/node/225 (caution, contains insane ramlings)