Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

Nine out of ten cats

archbishopm commented on the possibility of converting people to atheism. People obviously do change their minds on religion. But are they converted by argument? Not sure how people do change their minds about anything - I think a tectonic shift at a subconscious level filters up to the conscious mind.

I thought you might be interested in my best effort at figuring out whether I'm an atheist or not. To me this seems like a logical argument, but I hear other people's 'logical arguments' for their religious beliefs and they seem desperately unconvincing. It makes me think that perhaps logic is just a fig leaf on your primal emotion.

I think of animals, and the obvious limits on their model of the world. A cat is aware of a TV, and after a while realises it isn't 'real' and ignores it. That's the best model of 'what a TV is' that he can manage. Another cat somehow realises that the pictures on the TV are a representation, and when there's a bird on the screen she smacks it with her paw. That's the best model of 'what a TV is' that she can manage.

The cats have two different models of what a TV is. Is one model better than the other? Not hardly. The reality is so far from what a cat could possibly comprehend that the differences between their views are unimportant. And if a cat could understand TV, it wouldn't be a cat. It would be some kind of sad mutant.

Yeah, well, I'm sure you are ahead of me on this analogy. Sure, the human brain can handle more complex concepts than a cat's brain. Let's be generous to us, and say we are a million times smarter than a cat. But surely god is more than a million times more complex than a TV?

My conclusion then is that all our models, and I include atheism, are likely to be as far from the truth as a cat's understanding of adverts. This seems like a logical argument to me. Dissent welcome as ever.
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