While I make no claims that Scott Adams, author of the (in)famous Dilbert comic strip, is a Christian, he certainly explains clearly some fallacies of Atheism. In a series of posts initially begun in the spirit of what he terms “philosotainment” and driven on by comments to his articles and the responsive ravings of Austin Cline, Adams shows some rare jewels of the logical arguments for the likelihood of the existence of God. By no means does he come to correct conclusions all the time, and he makes no bones about the fact that he does this primarily as entertainment and only secondarily as serious philosophy.
Adams begins with “The Atheist Who Thought He Was God“:
In order to be certain that God doesn’t exist, you have to possess a godlike mental capacity – the ability to be 100% certain. A human can’t be 100% certain about anything. Our brains aren’t that reliable. Therefore, to be a true atheist, you have to believe you are the very thing that you argue doesn’t exist: God.
In the comments Pascal’s Wager is brought up. This argument is boiled down into the statement that it is a better ‘bet’ to believe in God than not to. Adams responds with “Pascal’s Wager” and includes a particularly brilliant jewel of wisdom:
…if you assume our perceptions are often flawed, you have to allow the possibility that some apparent absurdities are due to our limited powers of perception. So, for example, while the notion of a loving God who allows eternal damnation seems absurd, it is less absurd than assuming the world is run by invisible unicorns, or that God discriminates against those who believe in him.
He then goes on to say that given his own observation of current world religions he’d put his money on Islam as being the religion most likely to be correct based on several criteria, mostly stemming from a human view of current events and the goals and desires of God.
Austin Cline then chimes in with what he considers a withering response but which is in effect a series of adjective-laden phrases claiming that Scott Adams is an adjective-laden phrasologist, not a serious thinker. Austin does ignore the fact that Adams considers himself an adjective-laden phrasologist and makes no claims to serious mental inquiry here. Ironically it is the admitted adjective-laden phrasologist who submits the substantive arguments and it is the claimed substantive-intellectual who succeeds only in creating a storyline with no character or plot. Maybe he should take lessons from Adams, it could only help.
Adams, happy with the increased traffic to his blog, no doubt, responds gaily and with great relish in “The Poster Child For Cognitive Dissonance” in which he recognizes the ridiculous nature of the argument and ends with an admonition to Austin to “dance, monkey, dance!”
I’ve read a few bits and pieces of Adams philosophical explorations and I maintain a healthy level of respect for this man. Novelists and those who have to entertain with story and narrative are a special breed who usually command a greater than normal level of understanding regarding the human condition. Otherwise they would not be able to command an audience, as people would recognize the unreal nature of their characters and plot. Adams is by no means right about many things, but he is thoughtful and I would bet his keen wit and sharp mind against many people without fear.
Maybe I just like to laugh.
Thanks to Vox Populi for this story.