Silly harassers »« Why I am an atheist – Jim Phynn

Personally, I think his power was always over-rated

If you cut out the tall tales and the unwarranted credit, I think this graph really ought to be a flat line at 0.

(Sent by email, so I don’t know the original source, sorry.)

Comments

  1. jonmilne says

    Bwahahaha! Nice!

    Was that Glee episode where one of the characters starts seeing Jesus on a grilled cheese slice of toast based on real life events then? I was really hoping that even theists wouldn’t have really sunk to those kinds of depths. :)

  2. Sastra says

    One of the silliest — and most common — excuses made for God’s hidden nature rests on the assumption that “having faith” that God exists despite the lack of clear current examples of modern day miracles is a great virtue. It’s supposed to require humility, discipline, and a willingness to trust in the value of goodness — like standing loyally by a friend or holding nobly to a principle in the face of difficulties. The absence of obvious evidence is an obstacle to be overcome. It requires work.

    So you work it. You overcome the impediment by overinflating the significance of what “miracles” you do have — a sunset, the fact that species fit into their environment, the fact that we’re alive, unverified stories of personal extraordinary experiences … or a vague image on a piece of toast. “Hey, God — that’s enough evidence for ME! I’m convinced when others doubt. Consider me a highly motivated, extremely biased, eager to grab desperately onto any half-assed miracle Seeker of God.” Give them a cookie. Or an untoasted piece of bread.

    God doesn’t have to do plain miracles today because anyone who doubts that they happened in the past wouldn’t accept them no matter what. That’s their explanation. “For those who believe, no (more) evidence is necessary; for those who don’t believe, no (amount of) evidence is possible.” What a nasty way to toss away the common ground of reason and divide groups into tribes.

  3. ibbica says

    Was that Glee episode where one of the characters starts seeing Jesus on a grilled cheese slice of toast based on real life events then?

    Yep. The first well-publicized one was supposed to be Mary, though, not Jesus…

    http://cooltoast.com/

    You too can have your very own jesus-on-toast, now on demand!
    http://jesustoasters.com/

  4. steve oberski says

    Maybe “appearing on toast” could be a basic unit for measuring god powers and various imaginary beings could be objectively compared by assigning each one a rating using this system.

    Need a snappy, mnemonic name for it.

  5. qbsmd says

    It looks like an exponential decay. Clearly, this god is powered by a nuclear battery which is quite a few half-lives old.

  6. Sastra says

    I once had a ‘sophisticated’ believer — one who would never think or expect God to manifest its image on a piece of toast or anything else — tell me that nevertheless there was a miracle involved in these incidents: the simple faith and piety of the worshipers who ‘see’ a picture. It’s so special, so wonderful, so gratifying to recognize and appreciate such sweet humility and love from the Little People of God, those who are so trusting and hopeful of His real presence and concern for them. Awwwwwww….. isn’t faith wonderful? Look at their bowed heads and open hearts. Even an atheist ought to be touched.

    No. I was not and am not touched. But I thought the sophisticated believer sounded a bit touched.

    This is what religious privilege does to the brain. Very sad to contemplate.

  7. Crudely Wrott says

    I’ve been toasting bread for over fifty years and not once has an image of a face appeared.

    There was this one time though, when a series of splotches appeared. Morse code. It said, “Back at 1 pm”.

  8. says

    donaldosaurus:

    God’s greatest trick was convincing the world he doesn’t exist.

    I suppose that would go some way towards getting him off the hook for all the suffering and death…

  9. Ogvorbis: The only post-Permian seymouriamorph says

    Need a snappy, mnemonic name for it.

    On a scale of 1 to 100, god’s current miracles rate about 1mU (one milliUstilo). Curing syphilis, about 3 Ustilos. Walking on water (during the summer), about 8 Ustilos (during the winter, about 1 microUstilo). Causing plagues, about 1 Ustilo (just get the people to live in large populations in close contact with animals and god’s work is done). Flooding the planet rates about 25 Ustilos (getting rid of the water in a way that no one would notice has got to be worth about 60 Ustilos). And creating the universe is worth 100 Ustilos. Not snappy and mnemonic, but, if you grok latin, you should be chuckling.

  10. David Marjanović says

    This is what religious privilege does to the brain. Very sad to contemplate.

    QFT.

  11. says

    A pattern on toast that vaguely resembles a popular painting of a character out of a book that never described his appearance.

    Hell, it sounds as good as any sophisticated theology I’ve seen.

  12. postmodernslavepoet says

    Surely, the unit of measurement for miracles is the Thaum which, according to Terry Pratchett in his Discworld series, is the amount of mystical energy required to conjure up one small white pigeon or three normal-sized billiard balls.

  13. says

    The graph more accurately represents the efficacy of God’s PR rather than his actual power. He should consider switching advertising agencies.

  14. says

    I’m not sure god ever was all that powerful. He lost a wrestling match to a human, got upset over a pre-industrial age tower, can’t stop teh gayz, and had to commit suicide to “save” us. Also sphincter failure. One would think if a being were to be designed from scratch, you wouldn’t put valves all over it that fail so easily.

  15. captain233quirk says

    [blockquote]Maybe “appearing on toast” could be a basic unit for measuring god powers and various imaginary beings could be objectively compared by assigning each one a rating using this system.

    Need a snappy, mnemonic name for it.[/blockquote]

    GTU? God-Toast Units.

  16. DLC says

    It’s those Saints. every time you make a Saint, their power has to come from God. Even though God is Infinite, his power apparently isn’t and has to conform to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. (a law apparently so powerful not even the Deity can flaunt it, as Charles Darwin so evidently did. )

    Perhaps the Catholics were trying to overthrow Yaweh all the time, undermining him from within. . . (dun.dun.dun!)

  17. Louis says

    They got the curve of the graph wrong. It’s always been flat. It’s always been zero.

    Louis

  18. jimmauch says

    It’s a clear hockey stick graph showing downward trending godly omnipotence. Is it being done to deceive the new atheist? I can hear a voice booming throughout the heavens saying, “PZ can go to hell!”

  19. Sastra says

    lpetrich #22 wrote:

    David Hume noted about 250 years ago in his Essay on Miracles that “big” miracles have a shyness effect: they tend to occur away from high-quality documentation.

    That’s because God is shy, meaning touchy. People who demand high-quality documentation for His miracles hurt his feelings. Why, ANY objective observer could reason their way to belief in God from a strongly confirmed scientific finding. God is instead trying to select people for their paranormal powers of ESP: they just “know” one tall tale is true while rejecting all the others.

    This special sensing ability can apparently be strengthened by early indoctrination or desperation and circumstance.

  20. sabazinus says

    He’s not showing off by flooding the world or spreading plauges because he works in mysterious ways (or something). Also, he’s currently on vacation enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of New Orleans.

  21. says

    God doesn’t have to do plain miracles today because anyone who doubts that they happened in the past wouldn’t accept them no matter what. That’s their explanation. “For those who believe, no (more) evidence is necessary; for those who don’t believe, no (amount of) evidence is possible.” What a nasty way to toss away the common ground of reason and divide groups into tribes.

    I think for a lot of them it’s a way of trying to believe that the evidence of past miracles is so strong that anyone would have to believe them if they were at all open-minded. It’s sort of necessary for a lot of Xians that anyone could know of God through “God’s designs,” proof of which comes from some claptrap written by Paul, so that we evil ones may be joyfully cast into eternal flames.

    Of course anyone else with faith is a fool for being so credulous, from evolutionists to Muslims, apparently because they have faith in the wrong things. Then we get back to the need for showing that some things are right and some are wrong, and, well, design is just so obvious and you evilutionists just want your perversions anyhow, so they’re right and you’re wrong. You just are.

    Nothing ever really rests, until they decide that they have enough “faith” and “evidence” that for sure you’re just evil for not believing. So in the end that’s what really has to be the basis for their “beliefs,” that you’re evil and wrong so they don’t even have to consider what you say any more–they’ve already given you enough consideration, infidel. It isn’t faith at all, really, it’s a mental nullification of all that opposes their claims, hopefully to be followed up by physical annihilation of all that opposes their beliefs. That’s why ID/creationism could never be about even just treating lies like they were science, displacing science is all that can ever end the threat.

    So this version of Xianity, which appears to dominate most of American evangelicals, is all about triumphalism, giving hope to the “believers” that one day they will crush their opponents. Dembski’s nonsense predictions about the demise of “Darwinism,” etc. Faith for them is the really strong hope that they can crush our faces into the dirt someday.

    Glen Davidson

  22. Nancy New, Queen of your Regulatory Nightmare says

    Are we sure it was Jebus on the toast? Anyone know what the Holy Ghost looks like?

    If it wasn’t Jebus… We could have had “Father, Son, and Holy Toast.”

  23. busterggi says

    If you had done any research you would have discovered that imprinting an image on a piece of toast actually takes twice the energy that creating a universe does.

    Its detailed on page 37 of the Mormon Necronomican.

  24. hypatiasdaughter says

    Aha!If you enlarge the graph, you can see that the end over “PRESENT” does not actually intersect “0”. That is where the God of the Gaps fits in.

  25. Brownian says

    Anyone know what the Holy Ghost looks like?

    According to Acts, the Holy Spirit is supposed to resemble tongues of fire.

    For that you need a barbecue, not a toaster.

  26. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    I don’t know the original source, sorry.

    You can search for an image instead of keywords by going to google images and clicking the little camera icon, in the text field where you’d normally type.

    Some hits are citing WhatReallyHappened.com

  27. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Adam Lee had a nice piece about God shrinking on his old Ebon Musings site:

    Well, it is cold up there.

  28. gragra, something clever after the comma says

    One would think if a being were to be designed from scratch, you wouldn’t put valves all over it that fail so easily.

    Ugh. Tell me about it. (No, don’t really.)

  29. cag says

    It appears that the “Y” axis goes from zero amoebas to 0.001 amoeba. Thus the lack of a flat line. The margin of error is 0.001 amoeba. That is the power of zero.

    Now it remains to be seen weather all hail breaks loose.

  30. Pierce R. Butler says

    Dunno how this would rate on the above scale, but a lot of people give great respect to the power to make one football team score more touchdowns than the other (without which all games would end in ties, right?).

  31. Amphiox says

    God doesn’t have to do plain miracles today because anyone who doubts that they happened in the past wouldn’t accept them no matter what. That’s their explanation.

    Notice, once again, the unrecognized self-centeredness of the theist worldview.

    God does miracles so that people will believe. Not to, you know, maintain the universe, or right wrongs, or help the deserving, or even for just plain fun. Nooooo, the only reason is for them to see it so that they will believe.

    Like God’s their own personal trick pony.

  32. lpetrich says

    I found somewhere that premodern overall histories tend to follow this outline:
    – An era of gods and creation
    – An era of heroes
    – An era of ordinary people
    without clear dividing lines between them.

    One can find that in Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Chinese histories, and also twice in the Bible: the Old Testament and the New Testament + church history.

    Livy’s History of Rome starts out with Romulus, the city’s founder, and the son of a god and a virgin. He was followed by legendary kings like Numa Pompilius, and the last one of these was overthrown, with the overthrowers founding the Roman Republic. The independent evidence gets better and better, like the tombs of the Scipios.

    The Bible fits that pattern very well. It starts out with the creation of the Universe, then gets into legendary heroes like Noah and Lot and Abraham and Moses and Joshua, then into the likes of David and Solomon. When we start seeing independent evidence, we are at the Dual Monarchy.

    It restarts in the New Testament with Jesus Christ and the Gospels representing gods and creation, the apostles and the early church representing heroes, and post-NT church history representing ordinary people.

    Many premodern histories also featured culture heroes, like great lawgivers: Moses, Lycurgus of Sparta, Theseus of Athens, Romulus and Numa Pompilius of Rome, etc.

    This is a great difference with modern conceptions of history, which usually feature lowly origins — less and less elaborate societies with less and less technology, going back to small bands of foragers, and even farther back to prehuman species.

    The Founding-Father worship of some Americans seems like a throwback to premodern conceptions of history.

  33. lpetrich says

    The shyness effect applies to most of those histories also. There are some near misses, however.

    For early Rome, there was a Greek colony in nearby Naples (Neapolis, “New Town”), but we don’t get much surviving early history for it.

    For Greek mythology, we must look in Mycenaean Greece. Some Mycenaeans were literate, in Knossos and Pylos and a few other places. But just about the only thing they ever wrote was bookkeeping records. They didn’t even annotate vase paintings, as their successors would do. They had some literate neighbors who wrote on more subjects, like the Hittites and the Egyptians. Some Hittites mentioned the Ahhiyawa (*Akhaiwoi, Achaeans) in the west, but did not go into much further detail. The Egyptians referred to Keftiu (Crete) and “the islands in the Great Green” (the Mediterranean Sea), but not with much detail either.

    But the closest one is the events of the Exodus. There is not a trace of them in contemporary Egyptian histories, and I’ve seen speculation that the Exodus is a rather garbled memory of the expulsion of the Hyksos, with Pharaoh Ahmose’s name being interpreted by Hebrew speakers as Ah Moshe, “Brother of Moses”.

  34. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    Anyone know what the Holy Ghost looks like?

    A bullet ridden Casper.

  35. robster says

    So, it was god who cured syphilis!Jees, I always thought is was scientists, petrie dishes and antibiotics. If it was god, what does the decomposed magic jew do? What’s the point of the jesus fraud, it doesn’t do anything, at least for the last two milleniums. And “You too can have your very own jesus-on-toast, now on demand!”. Does this mean that jesus has something to do, or is it the work of dad? God’s about as useful as a foot high fence.

  36. says

    God’s greatest trick was convincing the world he doesn’t exist.

    No, that’s the devil’s greatest trick; god greatest trick was convincing the world that he is benevolent.

    Religion’s greatest trick was convincing the world that god exists.

  37. Amphiox says

    God’s greatest trick was convincing the world he doesn’t exist.

    Considering how many theists there are, have been, and will be, that’s one piss-poor trick.

  38. lpetrich says

    Ah, yes: Ebon Musings: One More Burning Bush

    There is a distinct pattern here, and it can best be summed up as this: Throughout history, God has been shrinking. The time when the world was small and God was in control is always in the far distant, half-remembered past. The closer we approach to the present, the less common miracles are and the less accessible he becomes, until the present day when divine activity has dwindled until it is indistinguishable from the nonexistent. Where the Bible tells us God once shaped worlds out of the void and parted great seas with the power of his word, today his most impressive acts seem to be shaping sticky buns into the likenesses of saints and conferring vaguely-defined warm feelings on his believers’ hearts when they attend church.

  39. David Marjanović says

    Perhaps the Catholics were trying to overthrow Ya[h]weh all the time, undermining him from within. . . (dun.dun.dun!)

    You know, that would actually make a lot of sense.

    Aha!If you enlarge the graph, you can see that the end over “PRESENT” does not actually intersect “0″. That is where the God of the Gaps fits in.

    Thread won.

    The Founding-Father worship of some Americans seems like a throwback to premodern conceptions of history.

    Good catch (Abraham Lincoln as the last hero? Or even St. Ronnie Raygun, who single-handedly ended the Cold War? *barf*), though I rather think it’s a straight continuation of them, untouched by modern developments.

    I’ve seen speculation that the Exodus is a rather garbled memory of the expulsion of the Hyksos, with Pharaoh Ahmose’s name being interpreted by Hebrew speakers as Ah Moshe, “Brother of Moses”.

    *lightbulb moment*

  40. indroyono says

    I think God gets all the credits, and only the good ones. Bad credits go to us. When people see a pretty girl, they say ‘Oh God is Great!’, but when people see a crippled boy, they say ‘Must be his mother’s fault when she was pregnant’