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Proof that there is no god

I have the evidence right here: there will exist, on 30 August in Minneapolis, a Cat video film festival. Right in my backyard, almost. It’s like they’re taunting me.

All right, God, this is your chance. If You exist, you will cause all those videos to spontaneously undergo radical bit-rot, and the conference will be over-run with arachnids, and it will rain squid from the skies. Pull that off, and I might acknowledge your existence. Otherwise, nope, you’re toast.

Comments

  1. Brownian says

    I’m just happy that after nearly a century people finally found a suitable use for film.

  2. Janine: Fucking Dyke Of Rage Mountain says

    Cat Scratch Fever and the continuing career of the Nuge is proof enough that god is away on business.

    Or proof that the big sky daddy hates us all and wants us to suffer.

    I cannot quite tell.

  3. says

    Well I don’t know about anyone else, but I look forward to the prospect of gaining some potential new pets via this whole sky squid/arachnid army shindig. My kids will just love them! And if it doesn’t happen? They will be disappointed and will simply curse the name of any gods…more.

  4. Woo_Monster, Sniffer of Starfarts says

    I hope no super-technologically-advanced prankster aliens are listening in. Aliens, do not attempt any shenanigans. PZ merely said that he might believe in a god if you crash the film festival in that particular way.

  5. One Thousand Needles says

    Doesn’t this just indicate that there IS a god, and she’s a cat?

    Whelp… I’ll get to work building that shrine for Bastet.

  6. mythbri says

    @Randomfactor

    What’s cool about having Bastet as a goddess is that there are all these ready-made, living miniatures of her all over the place. They’re much more cuddly than some stupid golden calf, boring cross, or stone statue.

  7. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    Doesn’t this just indicate that there IS a god, and she’s a cat?

    If that’s the case, I hope there’s Benadryl in heaven.

  8. jaranath says

    What’s the fine for throwing cephalopods from light aircraft in Minnesota?

  9. Trebuchet says

    If it does rain squid, would that prove the PZ is, as some wingnut recently said, “The God of Atheists”?

  10. RFW says

    Speaking of squid raining from the sky: there are documented instances of fish raining from the sky. Are there any of squid?

  11. icefog says

    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard the tired argument, known as Pascal’s Wager, in favor of Christianity, “If you believe in God and turn out to be incorrect, you have lost nothing – but if you don’t believe in God and turn out to be incorrect, you will go to Hell. Therefore it is foolish to be an atheist.” I started wondering how much a Christian really increases his odds of going to heaven by praying to the Christian ‘God’. Consider the sheer number of gods that have been catalogued by historians. Since the beginning of recorded history, about 6,000 years ago, there have apparently been at least 2870 deities worshipped by man. This value is probably low, as there is no way to count those gods worshipped before 4,000 BC, but let’s accept is anyway.

    In general, gods don’t take kindly to people who worship other gods. Consider Exodus 22:20 “He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed.” (In addition to threatening those who believe in the wrong god, this and numerous additional verses are clear biblical admissions that there are, indeed, other gods.) Indeed, if you worship Zeus or Terra or Thor or Ra or Vishnu or Marduk or Kurreah or Rostam or Damona it is clear that you will go to hell along with the atheists. If we accept that not all gods are as vindictive as the Christian god, we can assume that there are maybe 1000 that will send you to their equivalent of hell if you worship another god. That means that worshipping the Christian god will get earn you a one in a thousand chance of going to heaven. Being a faithful Christian gives you a 0.1 percent chance of going to heaven! I like my odds as an atheist.

  12. robro says

    icefog — Not sure where you got that 2870 figure but it’s probably very low. Not only do we not have people’s pantheons before the invention of writing in a few places about 4kyo when they began to record their local gods, we don’t know much about the gods of all the illiterate people after that even into relatively modern times. Even in the regions where writing originated, there are probably many fringe populations whose pantheon is lost. With thousands of societies each with a unique set of gods, of which there could be many tens of gods, then we’re looking at perhaps an order of magnitude or two more gods than 2800.

    Given that, and your logic, perhaps we should redub Pascal’s Wager, as Pascal’s SuperLotto.

  13. kagekiri says

    @icefog: If you don’t weigh the evidence or likelihood of truth, Pascal’s wager just skews towards gods with more inclusive standards for entrance into the afterlife, or religions with the most gods/heavens you can attain.

    The wager would still be a “why you shouldn’t be an atheist” argument like that, because atheists aren’t getting into most “good” afterlives but religionists of any type have a chance at one or two more.

    Really, you’d want to join/create a religion that required little work beyond saying you belonged, with infinite gods each with their own infinite heavens, thus providing you with infinite chances for heaven.

    It’s when you weigh things Bayesian style that Pascal’s wager starts to actually look like one that atheists are taking the best bet in, because religions are just ridiculously unlikely to be correct based on evidence, and that makes their odds incredibly worse and makes investing time/energy in religion incredibly less likely to be worth the investment.

  14. robro says

    PZ: In order for your prayer to be heard by the head dog, don’t you need to sacrifice a fatted first born something or other? Preferably child, but your best lamb might do. You do keep a flock of sheep, don’t you? Also called for: sack cloth, lying in ashes and filth, self-flatualtion until the blood runs, continuous prayer for a fortnight, daily burnt offerings, ablations and ritual baths, and…needless to say…complete abstinence from sexual relations with yourself or anyone else. Now, if you meet this criteria there’s still no promise that IT will answer your prayer because IT’s awfully fickle. In addition, IT may hate you for eating the crackers and may have already damned you to hell. This cat business in MN could just be the beginning of your damnation.

  15. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says

    there are documented instances of fish raining from the sky.

    [Citation needed]

  16. Sastra says

    What would it prove theologically if one of the cat videos at the cat video film fest was of PZ Myers’ own cat???

    Probably nothing, theologically. But it would be unexpected, on several fronts. I so hope this idea has already occurred to the Trophy Wife. She could tell you she just wanted it to be a surprise.

  17. icefog says

    kagekiri –

    This could be very useful for those seeking a religion, while still trying to keep a hint rationalism in their lives.

    Someone could do the world a service by rating religions according to their number of gods/heavens and the amount of effort (and cost) involved for an entrance fee.

  18. christophburschka says

    Maybe there is a god, and he’s still pissed about the whole cracker thing. Petty grudges like that are right up his alley.

  19. ogremeister says

    icefog @ 16:

    I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard the tired argument, known as Pascal’s Wager, in favor of Christianity, “If you believe in God and turn out to be incorrect, you have lost nothing – but if you don’t believe in God and turn out to be incorrect, you will go to Hell. Therefore it is foolish to be an atheist.”

    Just for kicks: turn the argument around on a Christian employing it and ask them if they would apply the same logic to combat global warming “just in case”. In many instances where Christian->conservative->denialist, the flip-flop is breathtaking to behold.

  20. chigau (間違っていない) says

    I can hardly wait to use “Pascal’s SuperLotto”.

  21. Matt Penfold says

    Just for kicks: turn the argument around on a Christian employing it and ask them if they would apply the same logic to combat global warming “just in case”. In many instances where Christian->conservative->denialist, the flip-flop is breathtaking to behold.

    It wasn’t applied to a Christian, but to Niall Ferguson, the right-wing libertarian historian. He recently gave a series of lectures on BBC radio, and in one he talked about how it was immoral to leave feature generations with a mountain of debt. During the Q&A at the end he was asked if he considered it immoral to leave future generations with major environmental issues to deal with, especially in respect of climate change. Given he has been sceptical about climate change he basically could not answer.

  22. kagekiri says

    @icefog:

    I doubt that’s really possible. If you’re just selecting the most nice sounding religion, you’re usually discarding truth or reality.

    You might make do with Unitarians, or other “all paths lead to heaven” religions, but they don’t really have any more evidence, just prettier thinking. Which isn’t a bad thing, per se; I’d rather deal with them than fundies of any type. It just isn’t really more rational than any other religion.

    Anyway, yeah, it’d be nice if people only chose the nicest religions if they were going to pick one to follow, but that’s not really why a lot choose any particular religion. Otherwise, all those crazy strict monotheisms would’ve died out centuries ago.

    Usually, it’s because you believe that religion has the truth, regardless of how horrible its hells are, or the horrible things “done” by its god(s) or prophet(s), or how wonderful its heaven(s) are.

  23. John Horstman says

    So… Kickstarter to fund rental of a helicopter, purchase of several hundred pounds of calamari, and payment of the inevitable fines?

  24. Randomfactor says

    There is one reported case of a Korean fisherman near the Falkland Islands being knocked unconscious by a FROZEN squid which fell from the sky.

    But one lone frozen cephalopod hardly seems proof of a REAL god.

  25. ogremeister says

    Matt Penfold @ 27:

    Given he has been sceptical about climate change he basically could not answer.

    No doubt because to him the solution to the one problem would introduce more of the other, i.e. more public debt to fund a solution in lieu of increased taxes (the “you broke it, you fix it” solution).

  26. weakswimmer says

    mythbri

    @Randomfactor

    What’s cool about having Bastet as a goddess is that there are all these ready-made, living miniatures of her all over the place. They’re much more cuddly than some stupid golden calf, boring cross, or stone statue.

    Ooh, funny and cuddly mini-Bastets! Huzzah! I think I’ll go pet some later.

  27. Matt Penfold says

    No doubt because to him the solution to the one problem would introduce more of the other, i.e. more public debt to fund a solution in lieu of increased taxes (the “you broke it, you fix it” solution).

    That, and to deny climate change is a problem would leave him open to ridicule (this was Radio 4, a pretty intelligent audience) and to accept it is a problem would lead to accusations (accurate ones) that he inconsistent in his demands, due to his political ideology.

  28. cag says

    Otherwise, nope, you’re toast.

    Let’s not turn nothing into something- make that imaginary toast.

  29. Sili (I have no penis and I must jizz) says

    It’s raining links, hallelujah!

    Well, there was a picture of dead fish in a bucket at one of the links, but I have to say I’m still rather doubtful of the reports.

    No cameraphones in Oz in 2010?

  30. cerylealcyon says

    So up ’til now, for me it’s been god, no god, believe whatever the hell you want, I don’t give a damn, the atheists are probably right anyways, I’m an Episcopalian, just pour me another Scotch, please.

    But suddenly, after reading this blog post, I have, for the first time in my life, experienced a true road-to-Damascus moment, the kind the stealth fundie preacher of my childhood church told me I’d never get to heaven without. Now, I urgently, desperately want there to be a God. If there isn’t, I will be even more devastated than I was upon finding out that the Pacific Tree Squid was, in fact, a hoax. You have no idea to what dark night of the soul that realization drove me. Denying me the sight of squid raining down from the heavens will send me into utter, irreversible nihilism.

  31. Tâlib Alttaawiil says

    “Otherwise, nope, you’re toast.”

    …so god’s ‘toast’ now? i thought he was a cracker…

    oh right, ‘mysterious ways’ and all that…

  32. Tâlib Alttaawiil says

    @30:

    “There is one reported case of a Korean fisherman near the Falkland Islands being knocked unconscious by a FROZEN squid which fell from the sky.”

    perhaps pat robertson or one of his ilk could enlighten us as to why korean fisherman near the falklands had to be the targets of god’s wrath here. rampant gay sex? that usually seems to upset him.

  33. dancaban says

    My “The Devils” Japanese laser disc never underwent bit rot ergo there is no god.

  34. douglashudson says

    The Christians have an out on this one–in the Gospels, when Satan asks Jesus to jump from the Temple and have the angels save him, Jesus quotes the old Testament “You shall not put the Lord to the test.”

    So their holy texts explicitly forbid calling out God. Convenient, that.

    Although it doesn’t seem to stop them from asking for miracles all the time. But since they continue to worship him whether he provides the miracles or not, I guess it isn’t a test.