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Jun 28 2014

Sophisticated … Something.

I needed a few vital groceries
So I laced up my shoes and set forth
But I’d somehow forgotten my compass
So I didn’t know which way was North!

It’s just down the street that I’m heading
And I’ll hope against hope for the best
The store’s on the left when I get there
But I don’t really know if that’s West!

If I don’t have True North to depend on
I don’t know I can trust Left or Right
“Two Blocks Down” is just meaningless drivel
If I don’t have True North in my sight!

So I sit here–afraid to go shopping
I can’t drive to the market or mall
All directions are now without meaning
Without North, I know nothing at all!

So… yeah. My aggregator points me to a place that thinks C.S.Lewis had something reasonable to say about atheism:

“Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”

- C.S. Lewis, The Case for Christianity, p. 32

Thing is, this is the best they have to offer. And it’s shit. And I’ve addressed it many times before. In fucking verse. And if they can say “you have to read the sophisticated theology before you can say shit”, then I can say “you have to read my whole site first, then you can try to address what I haven’t already dismantled.”

14 comments

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  1. 1
    John Morales

    What’s unreasonable about that which you quoted?

    It’s pretty plain the sentiment refers to his own particular cognitive conceit; that he was thus impaired doesn’t entail that other people should so be, even though that is the intended connotation.

  2. 2
    Randomfactor

    Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought:

    How could he possibly know that?

  3. 3
    John Morales

    Randomfactor @2, duh. Because he believed in God.

    (It’s not an inference, it’s an axiom)

  4. 4
    raven

    I’ve found much of what C.S. Lewis wrote to be really stupid.

    So dumb it is insulting to even read it.

  5. 5
    Pierce R. Butler

    Clearly, Lewis knew exactly as much about epistemology as he did about science.

  6. 6
    badgersdaughter

    What I’d have loved to tell him:

    Dear Lewis, you are mistaking what you might call “active” chaos with the ordinary sort of passive randomness. It’s as close to impossible as anything ever can be for actual chaos to produce nothing that could ever be identified as order. Such a state of affairs would be explained by some external force actively and non-randomly and instantly directing conditions against order. Paradoxically, this is less random than actual chaos is. Actual chaos is big, big, and lots of things happen in it; as many things as you want for as long as you want.

    More simply, the lottery ball cage will eventually throw all the six-number combinations. If you think that throwing six numbers in order (1-2-3-4-5-6 or 20-21-22-23-24-25, etc.) is too orderly to arise randomly, you are wrong; for any possible combination to never arise, you need an external mechanism to explain why.

    Your argument is not a proof of God but a disproof.

  7. 7
    badgersdaughter

    Also, my dear Lewis, there will soon arise something called Hypertext Markup Language that doesn’t always work the way you expect. Future people will, fortunately, understand and be kind when unexpected results happen. :)

  8. 8
    Al Dente

    Alvin Plantinga uses a similar argument against naturalism, positing that we can’t know anything therefore gods. Actually Plantinga leaps from generic gods to his favorite pet god without doing any handwaving and tapdancing to show why Jesus is preferred over Vishnu or Wotan.

  9. 9
    ShowMetheData

    But we do have a non-random process that created our ability to think. Our simpler ancestors had choices to make and if the choices were bad, that gene package died. Those that made the smarter decisions were able to transmit that thinking to add in memory and you have a system for thinking.

    And you can trace this back to the basic input-reaction of the simplest creatures.

  10. 10
    Jeff Engel

    Re 9. Absolutely right. The responses seem to be either (1) put their fingers in their ears and say LALALALALA loudly so they are not aware of the difference between natural selection and spilled milk patterns, or, slightly more nuanced (2) claim that natural selection delivers survival value, not truth, and when one points out a relationship between truth and survival value… back to (1).

  11. 11
    jimroberts

    I didn’t know this particular C.S.Lewis passage, but I do thank C.S.Lewis that, over 50 years ago, he helped turn me against Christianity.

  12. 12
    thebookofdave

    In short: Don’t cry over spilled milk.

  13. 13
    Usernames are smart

    “Sophisticated … Something,” rappified!

  14. 14
    CatMat

    #9:

    Since genotype changes in aggregate
    It takes to keep phenotypes animate
    A swing and a hit test
    Not really for fittest:
    Survival of the barely adequate

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