A Theist’s Guide to Converting Atheists
March 4, 2010 · Posted in Philosophy
I can agree to all the things listed in there. Present me one of the proofs asked for in Part 1 and you can sign me up for the whole God thingy immediately.
And I concur with part 2: Spare me any stories of how you used to be an atheist and converted to religion and how it has helped you in times of emotional trouble. Don’t make a fool of yourself by telling me that you yourself talked to God, Jesus, an angel or what have you. Believe me, this will NOT convert me, quite the contrary!
The crucial point is that of the ‘null hypothesis’. Every scientific theory has a null hypothesis, meaning a scenario under which the proposed theory could be proven wrong.
If rocks were to fall up, all things being equal, then Newton and Einstein would need to get back to the drawing board. If a ship were to fall down the disk of the earth, then surely Galilei must have gotten something wrong, etc …
This is kind of important. Everybody who wants to propose a bullet proof and sound theory has to offer a null hypothesis under which it may be proven false. This is because true theories don’t need to shy away from the most rigorous scientific scrutiny.
But even IF they were proven wrong, nobody’s worldview in the scientific community would shatter and render his life meaningless. Quite the contrary. Science welcomes challenge and progress. Religion doesn’t.
So whenever you talk to a religious person, before discussing anything else, simply ask them the following question: What proof would convince you that your theory is wrong, meaning that God and miracles don’t exist?
This is not a whole lot to ask for. It is they who are so certain that the theoretical entity that they can’t point at truly exists, it is they who believe in the validity of a book written 1700 ago about events that supposedly occurred 300 (!!) years prior to that, without access to any of the means of media and communication available today, it is they who suggest that this theoretical entity and this book should be used as the ultimate source of wisdom and morality, arguably the most important thing in life.
Those are some pretty extraordinary and amazing claims to make. They are amazing in particular because they are being advanced without the slightest proof whatsoever. The clip above asks for some proofs that should be rather easy to deliver if the theory was indeed true.
Thus it is only fair to give religious people that same opportunity, assuming they want to be taken seriously: Tell us what more proof you need in order to be convinced that there is no God ?