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Appendix to Meditation 957
Examining and Rejecting the 50 simple proofs

by: JT

Your thoughts on this Appendix are welcome. Please use the contact page to provide your comments for publication.

Critique based on the God is Imaginary website as it was 21 February 2012. Perhaps eventually someone might try to fix the many many flaws. Or preferably, let it die.

I will look at the 50 proofs in order. As many of the proofs are essentially duplicated, there will be a degree of cut-and-paste in my comments.

My aim in debunking this nonsense is not to suggest that a God exists, but simply to strongly suggest that fellow non-believers think before they write, and then present a logical and rational case. Don't call a poor argument a proof. Just because so-called proofs for the existence of God are logically unsound and irrational is no justification for using the same pitiful standards to construct disproofs of God.

The pure ignorance demonstrated these 50 simple-minded so-called proofs is not going to convert believers. It is going to convince them, with good reason, that their proofs of God are much stronger in comparison.

There is not a single valid proof in the 50. And the stretch to make it 50 simply exposes the paucity of the case presented. Volume does not bolster the case. This case is so weak, the volume undermines the case against God as the writer of the proofs failed to present a single logical argument which led to the repeated conclusion that "God is imaginary." In fact, in two of the proofs it is admitted that the proof failed.

  1. Try praying
    • The argument for this so-called "proof" opens with "How might we prove that God is imaginary? One way would be to find a contradiction between the definition of God and the God we experience in the real world." Uh... no. What that would suggest is that the definition of God might be wrong. It would establish nothing about God being imaginary.
    • The discussion goes on to point out New Testament passages that suggest God answers prayer, and argues that in practice prayer does not work. Fair enough, so we can conclude that the NT passages seem to be wrong, and that God does not answer prayer. But God's non-existence - or God's imaginariness is not established at all. All we have is an argument that the specifically Christian God does not seem to answer prayer.
  2. Statistically analyze prayer
    • Again, looking at the argument presented we have: "What we find, whenever we test the efficacy of prayer scientifically, is that prayer has zero effect: It does not matter who prays. It does not matter if we pray to God, Allah, Vishnu, Zeus, Ra or any other human god. It does not matter what we pray about." Going beyond this, we see a few studies which find prayer does not work commended, a few studies where prayer was found to work called fraudulent.

      I would contend that studies which find prayer works tend to be flawed rather than fraudulent, even though I agree they fail to establish their case. Aside from that, what we do not find in the argument is reference to any study or group of studies that have ever been conducted which establish "It does not matter who prays. It does not matter if we pray to God, Allah, Vishnu, Zeus, Ra or any other human god. It does not matter what we pray about." This particular argument is anecdotal, just as claims that prayer works are anecdotal.
    • I do not think prayer works, ever. But, I do not think it is possible to scientifically test the full range of circumstances in which prayer is said to work by believers.
    • Even if we could prove absolutely that prayer does not work, all we would prove is that prayer does not work. The fact that a deity is apparently not answering prayers says nothing about that deity's existence.
  3. Look at all historical gods
    • Here's the key element of this so-called proof: "...we know that tens of millions of Romans worshiped Jupiter and his friends, and to them they built magnificent temples. The ruins of these temples are popular tourist attractions even today. Yet we know with complete certainty that these gods were imaginary. ... Today's "God" is just as imaginary as were these historical gods. The fact that millions of people worship a god is meaningless"
    • That's a proof? An unproven assertion which leads to another unproven assertion. Regardless of what we believe about those two assertions, they in no way constitute a proof. Calling this a proof is pathetic.
  4. Think about science
    • After making an assertion about a person who prays and an assertion about a scientist who apparently starts out with a conclusion that prayer does not work, the writer jumps to: "it is only by assuming that the belief in prayer is a superstition and therefore God is imaginary that science can proceed." Then we are given an example of science in practice (the discovery of penicillin) and the "conclusion" "All of science works in this way. Only by assuming that God is imaginary and prayer is meaningless can science proceed."
    • Uh... no! Science makes no such assumptions. It makes no assumptions about God. It makes no assumptions about prayer. The writer is making a false assertion about the way science works. And incidently, Sir Alexander Fleming, discoverer of penicillin, was Roman Catholic, and in the absence of evidence to the contrary, it is reasonable to assume he did believe in God.
    • Once more, calling this extremely weak argument a proof is pathetic.
  5. Read the Bible
    • This proof provides a number of nasty rules in the Bible and some examples of things contrary to science. Then jumps to conclude "The reason why the Bible contains so much nonsense is because God is imaginary."
    • I have no problem with the idea that the Bible is full of nonsense, particularly when taken literally, but that does not justify jumping to God is imaginary. As supposed proofs go, once again, this one is pathetic.
  6. Ponder God's plan
    • The writer opens with ""God's plan" is the way that Christians traditionally explain things like amputations, cancer, hurricanes and car accidents" establishing the discussion is solely about a Christian God, then criticizes Warren's A Purpose Driven Life, and concludes "If you think about it as an intelligent person, you will realize that the statement "It is part of God's plan" is one of those meaningless palliatives. When you sit down and think it through using your common sense, the statement makes no sense. That lack of sense shows us how imaginary God is."
    • Once again, this type of bald assertion does not constitute proof.
  7. Understand religious delusion
    • This wordy proof amounts to:
      • I don't believe in Santa Claus
      • I don't believe Joseph Smith's tale about where he got the Book of Mormon.
      • I don't believe Mohammed's tale about the origin of the Koran
      • I don't believe the Jesus story.
      • Prayer does not work.
      • Therefore: "The reason why Jesus does not answer any of your prayers is because Jesus and God are imaginary. "
    • Seriously that's the so-called proof.
  8. Think about Near Death Experiences
    • Here the writer has really gone off the rails. What do near death experiences have to do with God? Well, supposedly "Many Christians find the phenomenon of Near Death Experiences (NDEs) to be proof that "God" and the "afterlife" exist." That's an unsupported assertion, which even if it were true would not establish that proving NDEs were imaginary automatically makes God imaginary.
    • Remarkably, even though this is one of the 50 proofs, the writer admits: "Is this a direct proof that God is imaginary? No." So how does the writer justify that it comes in as #8 in a list of 50 proofs that God is imaginary? The stupidity is astounding.

    9. Understand ambiguity

    • Jumping straight to the conclusion here: "The whole idea of "God answering prayers" is a complete illusion because God is imaginary" So-called proof #9 is just so-called proofs #1 & #2 regurgitated.

10. Watch the offering plate

    • Because the New Testament says prayer works, there should be no need to pass the offering plate in Church. Leading to the conclusion: "The reason why they pass the offering plate at church is because God is imaginary." So-called proof #9 is just so-called proofs #1, #2, & #9 regurgitated.
    • Not only are these proofs increasingly pathetic, it seems the writer is increasingly desperate to find 50 through repetition.

11. Notice that there is no scientific evidence

    • We start out with "There is no scientific evidence indicating that God exists. We all know that." Do we all know that? And if we do, is the absence of evidence evidence of absence? Has there been a properly designed experiment to determine God's existence? If not, it's no wonder there is no scientific evidence.
    • Then as the first example of the lack of evidence: "God has never left any physical evidence of his existence on earth." Say what? Believers in a creator God would point to the earth itself as physical evidence.
    • Then after more weak examples: "Let's agree that there is no empirical evidence showing that God exists." Sure. That's a fine argument. Say to the believer "Let's agree you are wrong, then I don't have to prove anything."
    • Then make the unwarranted logical leap to the conclusion: "The reason why there is no empirical evidence for God is because God is imaginary." Good grief!

    12. See the magic

    • Make an assertion: "When you look at different religions, they usually contain "magic." Then call certain beliefs magic ... Then make another assertion "The presence of "magic" is a clear marker for "imaginary.""
    • Why has the writer done this? Because magic contains a different connotation than does supernatural which is the term he really should have used in this case. But if he had said "When you look at different religions, they usually contain "the supernatural. The presence of "the supernatural" is a clear marker for "imaginary"" then it would have been blindingly obvious that the conclusion has been assumed. The non-believer may regard magic and the supernatural to be interchangeable terms, the believer usually does not.

    13. Take a look at slavery

    • We'll jump straight to the conclusion - we already know the Bible has numerous passages supporting slavery. "Given the fact that the Bible clearly condones slavery, your common sense should be telling you that God is imaginary."
    • This is claimed to be to be a proof. What my common sense should be telling me is irrelevant. Where is the logic?

    14. Examine Jesus' miracles
    15. Examine Jesus' resurrection

    • I'm not even going to discuss the details in #14 and #15. Whatever is being said involves only the Christian God. Whatever might be proven about Jesus's supposed miracles and Christ's purported resurrection does nothing to establish whether or not non-Christian gods are imaginary.

    16. Contemplate the contradictions

    • The Bible has contradictions (which a Christian apologist can argue away) therefore God is imaginary. Yet another logical leap.

    17. Think about Leprechauns

    • I don't believe in leprechauns.
    • Regurgitation of pathetic proof #11
    • After suggesting that experiments should be conducted for God's existence, then assert "Every experiment we devise demonstrates, yet again, that God is imaginary " without giving one single example of an experiment which has been devised to test for God.
    • Conclude by asserting God is imaginary.

    18. Imagine heaven

    • An imaginary dialogue shows an imaginary Christian's view of heaven is clearly imaginary, therefore God is proven imaginary.
    • Yup - that's proof#18 cut down to essentials.

    19. Notice that you ignore Jesus

    • People don't do everything Jesus says they should, therefore God is imaginary. Yet another logical leap.

    20. Notice your church

    • Churches have more possessions than the New Testament says they should, therefore God is imaginary. Yet another logical leap.

    21. Understand Jesus' core message

    • This is five straight supposed proofs that God is imaginary that apply only to the Christian God. And this one is really just #19 regurgitated.

    22. Count all the people God wants to murder

    • The God of the Bible has instituted the death penalty for a whole lot of activities, therefore God is imaginary. Pathetic!

    23. Listen to the Doxology

    • The Christian God distributes blessings unfairly, therefore God is imaginary. Where is there the slightest logic in these nonsensical arguments?

    24. Ask why religion causes so many problems

    • "...religion is harmful, not helpful. The reason is because God is imaginary." I shake my head at these logical leaps.
    • You might as well have Mr. Mackey standing there saying "Religion bad; m'kay?" for all the usefulness of this type of proof.

    25. Understand evolution and abiogenesis

    • Many Christians now accept evolution. But... "The interesting thing to understand is that when you accept evolution, what you are automatically doing is rejecting the concept of a soul. Here is why: As soon as you accept that evolution is true, you also accept that the creation story in the Bible is false. It is pure mythology. The concept of the "soul", which comes from the same book, is exactly the same sort of mythology."
    • Accepting evolution entails rejecting the concept of a soul? Unwarranted assertion. These are not connected. Many non-believers who accept evolution believe in the soul.
    • Accepting evolution entails regarding the Biblical creation story as mythology? Another unwarranted assertion. Those Christians who accept evolution regard the Creation story as metaphor. Perhaps the difference is too subtle for the writer of these "proofs" to understand.
    • The concept of the soul comes from the Bible and thus is mythology? Nonsense! The concept of the soul is found in multiple religions and cultures, not all of which have deities.
    • The other issue not covered in the above discussion is abiogenesis. The writer seems to think that because we have this word which describes the study of the beginnings of liFe, science knows how it occurred, and that science therefore excludes God. Let's be honest, - all we have is the word. We do not today know how. Science does not today know how. All the writer has proved is his own ignorance of current science.

    26. Notice that the Bible's author is not "all-knowing"

    • Notice that the "argument" presented has little to do with the text. If you look at the Bible references presented, we have proof #22 regurgitated - look at all these things the Biblical God has a death penalty for. So, therefore God is not all-knowing and therefore God is imaginary.

    27. Think about life after death

    • Bacteria, mosquitoes, and mice do not have souls (unwarranted assertion) and don't go to heaven. Humans are no different. Therefore God is imaginary. How stupid do you have to be to call this a proof?

    28. Notice how many gods you reject

    • There are a lot of religions, all of which reject every other religions gods, therefore all gods are imaginary. I would hope that the writer who is supposedly pro-science in spite of lacking understanding of how science works would understand that a statement such as "There are number of competing hypotheses about how gravity actually works, therefore all those hypotheses are wrong" is a failure in logic, the same failure as the equivalent statement about religions.

    29. Think about communion

    • I think communion is bizarre as it involves cannibalism, therefore God is imaginary.

    30. Examine God's sexism

    • You have to be kidding me with this one. God is sexist, therefore God is imaginary. Now - think of all the sexist people you know or who you have read about - hey - they are all imaginary.

    31. Understand that religion is superstition

    • Regurgitate several other proofs, and assume your conclusion.

    32. Talk to a theologian

    • Invent an imaginary discussion with an imaginary theologian, note that theologians can explain various Bible passages in different ways, therefore God is imaginary.

    33. Contemplate the crucifixion

    • Once again: I don't like part of the Jesus story, therefore God is imaginary. We've seen this proof before. It does not improve with regurgitation.

    34. Examine your health insurance policy

    • You need health insurance which shows God isn't curing you, therefore God is imaginary. I'm surprised the writer did not come up with "Examine your need for toilet paper, because a real God would be wiping your ass for you. Therefore God is imaginary."

    35. Notice Jesus' myopia

    • Once again: I don't like part of the Jesus story, therefore God is imaginary. We've seen this proof before. It does not improve with regurgitation. (Yes, I'm cutting and pasting here.)

    36. Realize that God is impossible

    • and let's just assume the conclusion right off the bat. Compare this to the Christian proof "Open your heart to God and you'll see he exists." Equally silly.

    37. Think about DNA

    • Assume you proved in so-called proof #25 that there was no creator for DNA even though DNA is not mentioned once in that proof, then assert this proves there is no need for a God at all.

    38. Contemplate the divorce rate among Christians

    • Christians get divorced contrary to Christian teachings, therefore God is imaginary. Pathetic!

    39. Realize that Jesus was a jerk

    • Once again: I don't like part of the Jesus story, therefore God is imaginary. We've seen this proof before. It does not improve with regurgitation. (Yes, I'm cutting and pasting again here.)

    40. Understand Christian motivations

    • Assert that "evidence" shows it is obvious God is imaginary. Assert Christians ignore the "evidence" Wrap it up, for the second time in these 50 proofs, by admitting you have not proved God is imaginary. And babble on about Christians being deluded.
    • How can anyone not be convinced by such stunning logic? (yes, that is sarcasm.)

    41. Flip a coin

    • regurgitation of prayer does not work, therefore God is imaginary.

    42. Listen when "God talks"

    • God does not talk to me. I find what God talks to Christians about is so mundane (provide a carefully selected imaginary example) that they must have made it up. Therefore God is imaginary.

    43. Realize that a "hidden God" is impossible

    • We already "realized" the complete God is impossible in proof 36, so it is not a stretch to "realize" a single characteristic is impossible. But once again assertion and assuming a conclusion do not amount to diddly-squat.

    44. Think about a Christian housewife

    • Some Christians think God answers pretty minor prayers, therefore God is imaginary. Failure of logic.

    45. Consider Noah's Ark

    • The Biblical God did some nasty things, therefore God is imaginary. Failure of logic.

    46. Ponder Pascal's Wager

    • Pascal's wager fails, therefore God is imaginary. Failure of logic

    47. Contemplate Creation

    • I think creation without a God is simpler than creation with a God, therefore God is imaginary. Failure of logic

    48. Compare prayer to a lucky horseshoe

    • regurgitation of prayer does not work, therefore God is imaginary.

    49. Look at who speaks for God

    • There are some morally deficient Christian preachers, therefore God is imaginary.

    50. Ask Jesus to appear

    • Double cut-and-paste coming up...
    • regurgitation of prayer does not work, therefore God is imaginary.
    • Once again: I don't like part of the Jesus story, therefore God is imaginary.

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