Archive for category Religion

In Defense of Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty

I’m sure we’ve all heard of the recent controversy over Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the popular show Duck Dynasty. His recent comments made to GQ have been criticized by the liberal media incessantly for the past couple of days, “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

In response, GLAAD, a LGBT activist group, sparked interest in the comments by calling Phil’s religious conviction on sin, specifically homosexuality, vile and extreme, “littered with outdated stereotypes and blatant misinformation.”

A GLAAD representative, Wilson Cruz,  even went as far as to say that “Phil’s lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe.” He goes on, “Phil’s decision to push vile and extreme stereotypes is a stain on A&E and his sponsors who now need to reexamine their ties to someone with such public disdain for LGBT people and families.”

The stage was set. A&E the mummer’s part; GLAAD enters the prompter’s box and the play was ready to start — a typical Hollywood drama.

However, this play wasn’t destined to have a happily ever after for the politically correct elitists. Though Phil was suspended from the show indefinitely, there was a huge backlash on both GLAAD and A&E. Many people are refusing to support A&E by watching any of their programming; some are signing online petitions to bring Phil back on the show. The bottom line: many, many people want Phil back and believe that both A&E and GLAAD surpassed their authority in trying to censor him.

In defense of Phil Robertson and the rest of the Duck Dynasty clan, I want to make a couple of points:

1. A&E had absolutely no right to fire Phil for his comments. It seems A&E is in violation of the Civil Rights act of 1964, which protects employees from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

(a) Employer practices

It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer –

(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Some might say that A&E isn’t firing Phil for his personal religious beliefs. An official statement from A&E says otherwise:

We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson’s comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series ‘Duck Dynasty’…. His personal views in no way reflect those of A&E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely.

It seems that A&E is openly admitting they’re suspending Phil for his personal religious beliefs — a direct, unmittigated violation of the Civil Rights Act. GLAAD is all about standing up to discrimination — except when Christians are discriminated. Where’s the left on this one?

2. Phil, though coarse, was completely Biblical in his statements. Contra Wilson Cruz, Phil’s comments are in-line with the Christian community — at least the Christian community that listens to what the Bible has to say. Romans 1: 26-28; even the passage that Phil paraphrased to GQ, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, clearly and concisely articulates that homosexuality is a sin. However this doesn’t mean we treat homosexuality any different from the many other sins we commit, sometimes on a daily basis. All sins are laid down on the cross through the authority found in the sacrifice of Christ.

I support Phil Robertson, his family, and all the unspoken Christians around the world being censored, discriminated, or worse due to their belief in Christ. Jesus warned us this wasn’t going to be an easy ride, that the cross will bear down on us at points in our lives. Though we may have it easy here in America, the land of “In God We Trust”, it’s moments like these that make us realize that there are those that wish to silence the Word and let the ways of men rule the land. Hold dearly to your right to spread the Word and never forget the price of its purchase.

Merry Christmas, and in the words of Phil Robertson:

We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity

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Christianity and Politics, Should They Mix?

David P. Gushee wrote an USA Today column titled in big bold letters “Christian politics create unholy alliances”:

“They are at it again. Republican presidential candidates are trolling for conservative Christian votes. Christian political organizers are trolling for Republican candidates’ attention. (The next occasion will be the Republican candidate debate sponsored by The Family Leader in two weeks at a church in Des Moines.) The Democrats, too, will make some effort to join this game, as they did in the 2008 cycle.”

This is what he had to say about politicians “abuse of Christian symbols”:

“Politicians continue to use and abuse the language and symbols of Christian faith in order to win political support. They speak of God, Jesus, Christian faith and Christian values. They bow their heads in prayer at a million chicken dinners. Then Christian voters — perhaps flattered, perhaps reassured — think that these evocations of holy Christian symbols and terms actually mean something.”

Mr. David Gushee submits that the “trolling” conservatives are using “Christian values” (gasp!) as a means of winning “political support” (double-gasp!) from Christian America (blasphemy!).  For  Mr. Gushee’s sake  (and I expect about 40% of the rest of America) we ought to have a set of earplugs and blinders at the ready when watching the presidential debates. It’s for our own good;  us “rank-in-file Christians”. We just don’t what’s good for us. Wait? When was politics decreed sterile of worldviews? Christianity tugs a worldview behind it; when a candidate associates himself with this worldview, we acquire some deep insight into the mind of that candidate.  So, I guess my main question is this: how is it wrong for a politician to articulate his worldview truthfully? This question seems to be inaccurate, actually. Gushee isn’t angry at politicians expressing any old worldview; it’s the Christian one that irks him. Why ought politicians hide their religious beliefs? Is politics some sort of sacred ground in which the candidate is purged of all his Christian worldviews and then – enlightened in the ways of the secular humanist – is prepared to run the presidential race? It seems quite contrary to our intuition.  A candidate’s religion usually dictates the ethics that he conforms to. Therefore, when a candidate submits that the Bible is the source of his moral standard, that’s a good thing to know ; understanding the worldview of the person you’re voting for is appropriate and ought to be encouraged.

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Bad Arguments for Atheism: Philosophy is Useless

The Depraved Effect of Empiricism:
“Philosophy, in the academic sense, is the art of asking questions that cannot be answered. Any idiot can ask that kind of question.
The awesome power of rational thought is that we can ask questions to which we CAN find the answer.
Only a total moron turns their back on that.”
— Chance Brown’s comment on this facebook page 

Should philosophy be utterly forgotten “since all we need is science”?  It’s actually kind of  ironic due to that fact that they employ a philosophy to say that “philosophy is stupid”. They are using philosophy to form their argument against philosophy! These people never seem to let me down.

Why We Need Philosophy:

All humans
 orient their lives around ideas of the nature of reality; how they explain their experiences of reality; and how they explain their ideas about what reality ought to be like. We formed all of these through the help of philosophy — no empirical evidence necessary and yet they are necessary for empirical evidence.

Human beings need metaphysical ideas
 because they are not born with instincts that determine  what they should think and want. We are born with the capacities to make up our own minds and to question any belief we have or meet. It is evident that most of the ideas in history that people have used to explain human experiences have been false or unfounded in many respects, and it is also evident that most of the ideas in history or direct human behaviour have been harmful to other human beings or to themselves. On the other hand, it is also evident that whatever adequate understanding people have of themselves, of others, and of their environment, is based on the asking and answering of the type of general questions that are philosophical. It is human to ask and answer such questions and to play with such ideas– it’s part of our nature.

All ideas about philosophy, including those that condemn philosophy, are themselves philosophical ideas. To declare all philosophical concepts useless, trifling, or impossible is little better than a refusal to do any serious philosophical reasoning. The ideas people live and die for,  war and kill for, are all philosophical ideas and are not meant to be shrugged off.

And finally, in Plato’s Apology, Socrates tells us that philosophy is a necessary tool for obtaining wisdom and knowledge. Socrates believed that in the absence of philosophy, we would not be able to question or disagree with our  thinking or ideas — we simply go with the flow and assume that whatever we  see, hear, or read is correct. As Socrates says, “… as long as I lead an unexamined life, I’m very unlikely to catch my errors and I’m very likely to go on fooling myself.”  Hmmm. I thought atheists didn’t like that. I thought they always cry out saying that we “religious folks” ought not to have a “blind faith” mentality — something that is produced when philosophy is absent from the mind.

So whenever a non-believer pulls this bluff as an argument, just give him the basic reasons why we need philosophy and how it’s actively used in everyday life; even in his own argument he’s forming against philosophy.

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Is Jesus A Copy Of Pagan Religions? Part 1: Horus

“Why should we consider the stories of Osiris, Dionysus, Adonis, Attis, Mithras, and the other pagan mystery saviors as fables, and yet come across essentially the same story told in a Jewish context believe it to be the biography of a carpenter from Bethlehem?”

— Timothy Freke / Peter Gandy, The Jesus Mysteries

This idea has been popularized by authors like Dan Brown and an internet movie called Zeitgeist; all of which claim essentially the same thing: the Christian concept of Christ was a mere copy of  other pagan gods.  In light of this, let’s examine some of their so-called “facts”.

Horus According to Zeitgeist:
– born on December 25th

– born of a virgin called Mary
star in the east rose when born
three kings adorned him
– teacher at twelve
– ministry
at thirty
had twelve disciples
  referred to as the “lamb of God” and “the light”

dead for three days
– was then resurrected

The Actual Facts of Horus:
1a. Horus was born to Isis; there’s no mention of Isis ever being called “Mary”.
1b. Mary is an anglicized version of ‘Miryam’; so it wouldn’t make sense for an ancient Egyptian goddess to be called  an anglicized name. 

2. There is no reason to think that Isis was a virgin. There is no textual indication that while she was married to Osiris  she  remained abstinent. Therefore, the burden of proof is on the person making the claim that she was a virgin; not the other way around.  

3.  Of the three different birth dates Horus was arbitrarily assigned one does land on December 25th, but who cares? The tradition that December 25th is the date of Christ’s birth did not occur until the 4th century A.D. and was linked to the celebration of the Winter Solstice. The Bible never even assigns a date of birth for Christ!

4a. There are no texts that talk about three kings visiting Horus at his birth.
4b. There is no mention of the number of magi visiting Jesus in the New Testament.
4c. They weren’t called kings; they were actually magi (lit. “king-makers”) in the New Testament.
4d. The magi didn’t even visit at Jesus’ birth. Jesus was most likely around one or two at the time of magi’s visit.

5. There is no document that states that a star rose in the east that lead the undocumented three “kings” to Horus’ non-virgin birth.

6. No account of Horus being a teacher at the age of twelve.

7a. Horus was definitely not “baptized”.
7b. First of all, the term is misused; baptism refers to the ritual washing that the Jewish people started performing during the second Temple period; long after the legends of Horus.
7c. The only Horus and water incident was when Horus was torn to pieces and Isis asked for the crocodile god to retrieve his remains.

8. Horus certainly did not have a ministry of teaching on earth. Even if he did, he certainly would not have preached the same thing as Jesus did. The Egyptians didn’t have any doctrines of salvation, nor did they have a comprehensive understanding of the nature of their own gods.

9.  He did not have twelve disciples, but instead had four minor gods that were followers. There is also some textual indication that he had sixteen human followers and a group of blacksmith’s that followed him into battle.

10a. Horus could not have been crucified because crucifixion originated in around 600 B.C; long after the Horus legends were written.
10b. Horus’ death is described as him being dismembered and his body parts were scattered throughout the earth. Another story states that Horus’ torn pieces of flesh were put into a river.

11. Horus obviously did not die a death for spiritual atonement of the sins of the world.

12.  Horus was not buried for three days. Instead, he was dismembered and did not rise for a long period of time.

13.  There are no accounts of a bodily resurrection. There are texts that state that he was miraculously healed from a poisonous scorpion sting, but nothing that comes even remotely close to what Christ went through.

14.  “Great God”, “Chief of the Powers”, “Master of Heaven”, and “Avenger of His Father” are the only titles ever given to Horus. Titles like “Lamb of God” and “the light” are completely unique to Jesus.

Horus is obviously a legend from a different culture and a different time. There is absolutely no relation to the historical figure of Christ at all. There’s simply no comparison; they contradict on every main characteristic.

Want to learn more about Horus and the other Egyptian gods and goddesses? Here’s the Egyptian Book of the Dead from which much of my data stems from.

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Who Made God?

The Dawkins Delusion:
It’s an age-old question of origins. Who created the creator? Does God have parents? It’s merely a brain-teaser of sorts, but for some naive authors, *cough* like Richard Dawkins *cough*, it’s their central argument.  An excerpt from this not-to-be-named author’s book, The God Delusion:

“1. One of the greatest challenges to the human intellect has
been to explain how the complex, improbable appearance of design in the universe

2. The natural temptation is to attribute the appearance of
design to actual design itself.

3. The temptation is a false one because
the designer hypothesis immediately raises the larger problem of who designed
the designer.

4. The most ingenious and powerful explanation is Darwinian
evolution by natural selection.

5. We don’t have an equivalent
explanation for physics.

6. We should not give up the hope of a better
explanation arising in physics, something as powerful as Darwinism is for

Therefore, God almost certainly does not exist.”

Now, you don’t need to be a Oxford philosopher to understand that his premises for the argument do not lead to the odd conclusion that “God almost certainly does not exist”.  Why? Because he’s saying that we can’t infer a designer to things that appear to be designed. To Dawkins’ dismay, however, there are plenty of arguments for God that have nothing to do with the appearance of design in the universe. His reasoning is thus logically invalid because the argument is just another non sequitur. But, for the sake of the discussion,  we’ll let it slide. Mr. Dawkins’ main point is that we have no right to infer an intelligent designer for the universe because a new problem arises: who designed the designer?

A Rebuttal:
1. As many philosophers have already pointed out, you don’t need an explanation of an explanation to conclude if it’s valid or not. It’s really that simple. As an analogy, pretend I head off to England. Assume I find Stonehenge. I examine it and determine that it was developed by an intelligence. Now, is my inferring intelligence less correct because (1) I don’t have any clue who made it and (2) I don’t know who the ancestors of the people that made Stonehenge? Obviously not. If I was wrong in doing this, it would put us in a vacuum of knowledge in which we would always have to explain the explanation ad infinitum to decide whether to believe something or not (i.e. an infinite regress).

Who made Stonehenge?
Who made them?
Well, you forgot to explain them too!
And so on….

2. Asking the very question “who created God” is nonsensical. God being the very first cause, this would be like asking  “who created the uncreatable?”. It’s just a bunch of pseudoquestions because it forces us to conceive created gods,  instead of who we’re really talking about – God.

In Conclusion:
You’re not required to explain God in order to recognize that He is the best explanation. It’s quite odd that Dawkins uses this argument as his “central” one. It was his knockout argument — or so he thought.

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Is God Really Free?

Free will and the nature of God can be pretty confusing stuff. A lot of people have a bunch of different opinions about it. I’m just gonna’ give you some of my thoughts on the subject:

How Free Is God?
About the only time this question arises is when we start asking, “Can God do everything?”. Some people start to say, “Yeah, He’s God. Duh!”. But after a little thinking, they then realize He cannot (1) be illogical and (2) be immoral. A logical God, I think, is a given, but what about the God and immorality? Does God have the ability to be immoral? If not, is God really free?

My Take:
God by definition doesn’t have the ability to be immoral. When the Bible says “God is good”, it’s basically saying “God’s nature is that of perfection”. God is the supremely perfect moral being of the universe. But the question arises, “Doesn’t this infringe on God’s free will?”. I’ll use an analogy by Harry Frankfurt:

‘Imagine a man with electrodes secretly implanted in his brain who is presented with a choice of doing either A or B [for our purposes, we’ll let A stand for good and B stand for evil]. The electrodes are inactive so long as the man chooses A; but if he were going to choose B, then the electrodes would switch on and force him to choose A. If the electrodes fire, causing him to choose A, his choice of A is clearly not a free choice. But supposed that the man really wants to do A and chooses it of his own volition. In that case his choosing A is entirely free, even though the man is literally unable to choose B, since the electrodes do not function at all and have no effect on his choice of A. What makes his choice free is the absence of any causally determining factors of his choosing A. This conception of libertarian freedom has the advantage of explaining how it is that God’s choosing to do good is free, even though it is impossible for God to choose sin, namely, His choosing is undetermined by causal constraints. Thus, libertarian freedom of the will does not require the ability to choose other than as one chooses.’

Since God’s nature is that of moral perfection, God will necessarily choose (A) freely and thus will never be forced to choose (A). Although it’s an impossibility for God to choose (B), God still has free will.  Think about it. A limitation in the range of possible choices is not the same as having no choice at all. If God is faced with a choice of either doing a particular set of good actions, (a), (b), and (c),  or a particular set of bad actions, (x), (z), and (y), His inability of choosing (x), (z), and (y) does not negate the fact that He freely chose (a), (b), and (c). In light of this, we can say with ease that God is actually free.

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Atheists Sue To Take A “Cross-shaped” Beam Out Of 9/11 Museum.

Excerpt from The New York Times:

“In the days after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, some workers and mourners at the World Trade Center site seized upon a cross-shaped steel beam found amid the rubble as a symbol of faith and hope.

For the past five years, the 17-foot-tall cross was displayed outside a nearby Catholic church. On Saturday it was moved again, to the site of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, where it is to be in the permanent collection.

But the move quickly provoked a lawsuit from American Atheists, a nonprofit group based in New Jersey. They argued that because the cross is a religious symbol of Christianity and the museum is partly government financed and is on government property, the cross’s inclusion in the museum violates the United States Constitution and state civil rights law. The lawsuit, in turn, provoked the ire of the American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative public interest law firm, as well as others.”

The American Atheists claim:

“The installation of the cross at the September 11 Memorial and Museum is facially violative of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America, which mandates: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

We Passed A Law?

Their claim would only make sense if (1) Congress is actually making a “law respecting an establishment of religion” or (2) Congress is actually making a law “prohibiting” free exercise of religion. Which, of course, they’re not. It’s bizarre that they seem to completely ignore this obvious fact.  Yes, there is a beam that resembles a Christian cross. Yes, the beam that resembles a cross is in a government-funded building. Your point? What if I make up a new religion that has a religious symbol resembling the White House? Does it follow that Congress is “facially violative of the First Amendment” for funding it? Why not? It’s the same logic the American Atheists are using.

The Beam-Cross Hurts Their Feelings?

“The challenged cross constitutes an unlawful attempt to promote a specific religion on governmental land, diminishing the civil rights, privileges or capacities of Atheist Americans, Agnostic Americans, Jewish Americans, Muslims…” etc.

How is a beam that resembles a cross “diminishing the civil rights” of anybody? I’m pretty sure your freedoms will be intact when you leave the museum. I’m just guessing though. The cross may be programmed to burn non-Christians eyes out. Or (and probably more reasonably) it could just represent the hope it gave Christians and others of the faith in one of the darkest times in America, but that’s beside the point. Right?

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Bad Arguments for Atheism: Old Testament Morality vs. New Testament Morality

Conflicting Morality?
To understand the historical context of both the Old and New Testaments is extremely important when making connections between our society and their society. When we fail to do this, we usually come to the wrong conclusions about scripture. An example of this is that many non-believers claim that there is an obvious conflict between the moralities in the Bible — Old Testament morality being more “cruel”, while New Testament is more “acceptable”. They also go on to say that if the morality in the Bible reflects God’s morality, then God’s morality is “changing”. This, they conclude, is a contradiction in God’s nature.

Contradiction In God’s Nature?
In the Bible, God’s commandments seem contingent on the moral and historical status of the people He’s dealing with. Jesus plainly affirms this in Matthew 19:8, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been that way.” Even though God didn’t intend marriage to be that way, He permitted divorce for the Israelites because of their moral depravity. Thus we can conclude that God’s commands are dependant on the historical context of the people. Different people at different times are to follow different commands.

Contradiction In The Bible’s Morality?
A contradiction is something that is logically incompatible between two statements. Given the fact that the Bible says that God’s commandments are historically conditioned and that the the New Testament was written in a totally different historical frame than that of the Old Testament’s, there isn’t any contradiction happening. Most of the laws given in the OT were never intended to be timeless ethical principles (like “unclean food”).  As proof of this, ancient Israel was a theocratic society with God at the head. That’s a huge contrast between our society and ancient Israel’s. Many acts, like adultery, were deeply immoral and deserved capital punishment. In our sexually promiscuous society such a view of adultery seems inconceivable, but I take that as a clear sign on how far we’ve fallen away from God. Think about it. Look at how much society’s view of marriage and purity has changed in the last hundred years. Now think about the last thousand years. It’s a huge transformation and isn’t necessarily in the right direction.

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Bad Arguments for Atheism: “No True Scotsman” and Anders Behring Breivik

Pointing Fingers:
After Anders Breivik went on one of the most deadly killing sprees in history with 76 confirmed murders, many started pointing fingers – especially at “christian fundamentalists“. Although Breivik was obviously not a “fundamentalist” in the theological sense, this doesn’t negate the claim that he considered himself Christian. Many Christians spoke out at this and said that Anders wasn’t a “true Christian”. However, many an atheist replied and claimed that Anders ought to be called a “true christian” and anyone that says he isn’t is committing the fallacy of No true Scotsman.

The Fallacy:
A simple version of the fallacy goes like this:
Joey: “All Americans like pizza.”
Timmy: “I don’t like pizza.”
Joey: ” Yes, but all true Americans like pizza.”

We can easily see the fallacy here. Joey starts out by saying that all Americans (somebody who comes from the United States) like pizza. Timmy is an American, but doesn’t like pizza. So what does Joey do? He refines the definition of Americans (somebody that hails from the United States) to “Americans” (somebody that hails from the United States and likes pizza) and then implies that Timmy isn’t an American based on the failure to meet up to his new definition. It’s a form of ad hoc reasoning and is highly unreasonable, even though all true Americans do like pizza.

The Atheist’s Argument:
Now, let’s look at the argument atheists and the like are making:
Smith: “All Christians follow the example of Christ.”
Johnson: “Anders Behring Breivik is a Christian.”
Smith: “Yes, but all true Christians follow the teachings of Jesus.”
Johnson: “Hey! You’re being illogical there!”

Debunking The Alleged Fallacy:
Where’s the fallacy? How is Smith being illogical? Let’s look: Smith said Christians (a person that follows Jesus’ teachings) follow the example of Christ. Johnson claims that Anders is a Christian. Smith replies by implying that Anders Breivik wasn’t a Christian and then gives the same definition that he gave earlier (Christians are people that follow Jesus’ teachings). Where’s the ad hoc reasoning? There isn’t any! Smith never refines his definition of Christian and is therefore not committing any fallacy.

A Different Fallacy Is Found:
When atheists (like Johnson in the example) say that Anders is a Christian, they’re completely assuming that he met up to the standards of being a Christian ( or a “fundamentalist Christian” for that matter).  They’re just begging the question.

Johnson: “How do you know Anders Behring Breivik is a Christian?”
Smith: “Because he said he was.”

But you see, being a Christian isn’t the same as saying you’re a Christian. Christianity isn’t a spectator’s sport – it’s full contact. This is what separates Christianity from most philosophies and religions: it’s faith coupled with works.  Without faith, you’re spiritually dead. Without works, you’re spiritually dead. They go hand in hand together.

In Conclusion:
As we saw above, nobody is committing a fallacy in saying that Anders wasn’t a true Christian. The fallacy just isn’t there. However, a fallacy is found in saying that Anders was a Christian just because he said he was. Christianity is more than just saying


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Bad Arguments For Atheism: The Dragon in My Garage and Naturalism

I'm the dragon that lives in your garage!

“A fire-breathing dragon lives in my garage” by Carl Sagan

Suppose (I’m following a group therapy approach by the psychologist Richard Franklin) I seriously make such an assertion to you.  Surely you’d want to check it out, see for yourself.  There have been innumerable stories of dragons over the centuries, but no real evidence. What an opportunity!

“Show me,”  you say.  I lead you to my garage.  You look inside and see a ladder, empty paint cans, an old tricycle — but no dragon.

“Where’s the dragon?” you ask.

“Oh, she’s right here,” I reply, waving vaguely.  “I neglected to mention that she’s an invisible dragon.”

You propose spreading flour on the floor of the garage to capture the dragon’s footprints.

“Good idea,” I say, “but this dragon floats in the air.”

Then you’ll use an infrared sensor to detect the invisible fire.

“Good idea, but the invisible fire is also heatless.”

You’ll spray-paint the dragon and make her visible.

“Good idea, but she’s an incorporeal dragon and the paint won’t stick.”  And so on.  I counter every physical test you propose with a special explanation of why it won’t work.

Now, what’s the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all?  If there’s no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists?  Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it true.  Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder.

Now there’s a glaring fallacy in this failed analogy. Mr. Sagan plainly states that “if there’s no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists?”. In other words, “If my dragon cannot be put in a test tube, it doesn’t exist.” ( i.e. naturalism is the only way to knowledge). That’s pretty much the whole point of the analogy.

My question for Mr. Sagan is this:
“Can the logic you’re using in your argument be put in a test tube?”

Obviously the answer is “no”. Then how is Sagan justified in saying that naturalism is the only true theory of knowledge? If logic is not a viable way of reasoning, then why should we trust Sagan’s logic? In fact, why trust anybody’s logic? If our brains are just recombinations of matter, why believe that our thoughts and ideas are accurate? Why trust your perception of the world? Why trust science? If our senses have no intrinsic truth value, then we can’t have confidence in anything about the natural world. From this we must conclude that naturalism leaves us in a hopeless vacuum of knowledge.  It’s a sad place when we can’t know anything for sure.

So, when Sagan says,”What’s the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all?” simply say, “What’s the difference between a blind, nihilistic, epistemological belief that spits reasonless contradictions and no epistemological theory at all? There isn’t one!”.

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