Thursday, 22 April 2010

Wager On An Atheist's God

Getting bored with arguing with theists, I thought it might be easier if I just give up and join the club. I've been trying to find a God hypothesis that comes close to working for me. There are none out there that completely satisfy my needs.

Though I'm not prone to believing God stuff without evidence, from my point of view it is legitimate to concoct hypotheses and check them against what my reason and senses tell me. Here's one.

There is a God. He created the universe as we have come to know it through our senses, reason and science. He wanted nothing more than to create a universe to see what would happen. He is not omniscient, so he was curious. Being alone, but otherwise a good scientist, he is very hands-off and observational.

He has seen humans evolve with no input from himself other than the initial conditions. He looks on with amusement at all the speculations, guesses, hypotheses about how the universe started. He is amused that some, the theists, guessed right, but went overboard in speculating about him. Basically, other than the guess that there was an agency, him, all religions got everything else totally wrong. He has no interest in morality, that is in making decrees he expects us to adhere to. He pays no attention to prayers and certainly doesn't answer them.

In fact, since he has left no trace of himself, and has made no communication with us, he is amazed and amused by the great intelligence of the atheists who suppose he does not exist, knowing that if he were in their position he'd conclude the same. In fact, given he has left no evidence of himself, he's surprised there are beings still dumb enough the think he exists.

He's so pleased with the atheists that, despite having no former plans, he is considering taking up one of the theists' wrong beliefs - that of the afterlife. But, the twist is that everyone who has died a thoughtful reasoned atheist, he will recreate as equal partners to himself, as gods - thinking it would be nice to have some intelligent conversation. As for the theists, he wouldn't in all eternity want those freaky dictatorial idiots around with any godly powers - he'd have religious wars on his hands that would put the vindictive ancient Greek gods to shame. No, the theists can be left to return to other forms of matter - to go up in smoke or be eaten by worms.

Now on the surface this seems a dumb hypothesis to me, because there's no evidence to support it. Buut hey, hold on! There isn't supposed to be. Perfect! This overcomes some of the problems with the usual theist hypotheses - that God intervenes. And I can say God is unknowable - this is only my hypothesis, I don't know if it's true, and I'm not claiming it is, so I don't have to justify it. It can't lose.

Still, to be on the safe side, in case this is the truth, I'd still be better consigning it to the bin like all the other divine hypotheses - I wouldn't want God to think I think he's there. But on the whole this is a far better bet on which to use Pascal's Wager.

If you can find any flaws with this hypothesis, then by all means contribute. But don't expect an argument from me, I'm an atheist.


Ron Murphy said...

Crap! I'm getting worried. Maybe I was divinely inspired, but being a closed minded bigoted atheist maybe I just refuse to believe it. Perhaps A Voice in the Crowd has planted a seed of doubt in my mind.

Lesley Fellows said...

:) that made me laugh.. might have to nick it for my blog. Surely you arn't getting fed up of arguing with me already?

Lesley Fellows said...

Just followed the link - you are getting insulted today aren't you? Showed a friend the 'mathematical proof' and he got pretty angry - doesn't prove anything!

Ron Murphy said...

Fed up? No, it's a pleasure to have an open conversation with a theist that isn't dead certain they are right and that I'm a cat's whisker from being carted off to hell in the very next instant for my blasphemous ways.

I posted a response to the math bit, but he hasn't approved it yet. I'll put it up here soon.

Lesley Fellows said...

I think I am the one who is a cat's whisker away from being carted off to Hell.. pretty tricky lot some of these theists.. not like you cuddly atheists??

Lesley Fellows said...

Wow - this is picking up some positive vibes from theists here:
Perhaps you are divinely inspired

Alan Crawley said...

You aren't really the first - this is close to Deism

Ron Murphy said...

Are we ever the first, at anything.

nedbrek said...

Hi Ron!

I think you have a consistent hypothesis - you might have a problem of evil (this god seems like kind of a jerk, to not do anything about the evil in the world - you might not want to spend eternity with him).

That said, it's not really a question of examining what is probable or possible.

For example, everyone who buys a raffle ticket is possibly a winner. Those who buy more are probabilistically more likely to be the winner.

But there can only be one winner. And even the least probably candidate might be it.

Now some god hypotheses allow for multiple gods, but some don't. If a monotheistic god is the true god, you can rule out all other god hypotheses.

Ron Murphy said...

Fair point in the problem of evil. I guess if I need to I'll just tweak the theology to encompass it, or maybe explain it away. There are many tips and tricks in theology available from the countless variety of theists.

What if my monotheistic God is the direct creator of our universe, but in some realm there is a polytheistic set of entities that created my God? This is the problem with taking that one giant leap, from what we actually observe to what we can possibly imagine. There are no bounds to the speculatation, but you're still safe in the knowledge that it's out of reach of both verification and falsification.

Ron Murphy said...

Do excuse 'speculatation'. It was an unintended typo and not an intended Bushism.