Monday, June 25, 2007

An Amazing Conversation - Is God there? - Atheist Professor vs. Theist Student

I cam across this forwarded email which had this amazing conversation between an atheist professor and theist student. Searched about it on net and found several interesting versions and discussions about it on online forums. The conversation is as below:

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

An atheist professor of philosophy speaks to his class on the problem science has with God, The Almighty.
He asks one of his new students to stand and.....

Prof: So you believe in God?
Student: Absolutely, sir.

Prof: Is God good?
Student: Sure.

Prof: Is God all-powerful?
Student: Yes.

Prof: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to God to heal him.
Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill. But God didn't. How is this God good then? Hmm?
Student: (Student is silent.)

Prof: You can't answer, can you? Let's start again, young fella. Is God good?
Student: Yes.

Prof: Is Satan good?
Student: No.

Prof: Where does Satan come from?
Student: From...God...

Prof: That's right. Tell me son, is there evil in this world?
Student: Yes.

Prof: Evil is everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything. Correct?
Student: Yes.

Prof: So who created evil?
Student: (Student does not answer.)

Prof: Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the world, don't they?
Student: Yes, sir.

Prof: So, who created them?
Student: (Student has no answer.)

Prof: Science says you have 5 senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Tell me, son...Have you ever seen God?
Student: No, sir.

Prof: Tell us if you have ever heard your God?
Student: No , sir.

Prof: Have you ever felt your God, tasted your God, smelt your God? Have you ever had any sensory perception of God for that matter?
Student: No, sir. I'm afraid I haven't.

Prof: Yet you still believe in Him?
Student: Yes.

Prof: According to empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your GOD doesn't exist. What do you say to that, son?
Student: Nothing. I only have my faith.

Prof: Yes. Faith. And that is the problem science has.

Student: Professor, is there such a thing as heat?
Prof: Yes.

Student: And is there such a thing as cold?
Prof: Yes.

Student: No sir. There isn't.
(The lecture theatre becomes very quiet with this turn of events.)

Student: Sir, you can have lots of heat, even more heat, superheat, mega heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat. But we don't have anything called cold.
We can hit 458 degrees below zero which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that.
There is no such thing as cold. Cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat.
We cannot measure cold. Heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.
(There is pin-drop silence in the lecture theatre.)

Student: What about darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as darkness?
Prof: Yes. What is night if there isn't darkness?

Student: You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is the absence of something.
You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light....But if you have no light constantly, you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it?
In reality, darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn't you?
Prof: So what is the point you are making, young man?

Student: Sir, my point is your philosophical premise is flawed.
Prof: Flawed? Can you explain how?

Student: Sir, you are working on the premise of duality. You argue there is life and then there is death, a good God and a bad God.
You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can
measure.
Sir, science can't even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one.
To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing.
Death is not the opposite of life: just the absence of it. Now tell me, Professor.
Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?
Prof: If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, yes, of course, I do.

Student: Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?
Prof: (The Professor shakes his head with a smile, beginning to realize
where the argument is going.)

Student: Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavour, are you not teaching your opinion, sir?
Are you not a scientist but a
preacher?
Prof: (The class is in uproar.)

Student: Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the Professor's brain?
Prof: (The class breaks out into laughter.)

Student: Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor's brain, felt it, touched or smelt it?.....No one appears to have done so.
So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable
protocol, science says that you have no brain, sir.
With all due respect, sir, how do we then trust your lectures, sir?

Prof: (The room is silent. The professor stares at the student, his face unfathomable.)
Prof: I guess you'll have to take them on faith, son.

Student: That is it sir.. The link between man & God is FAITH. That is all that keeps things moving & alive.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Pretty interesting conversation isn't it.. Click below to find some interesting comments on the above conversation that I picked up from an online forum from some atheist vs Theist guys..


CLICK HERE
.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

This tired story has been passed on and on. It's inaccurate:

"Student: Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavour, are you not teaching your opinion, sir?:

Evolution is an on-going process and it IS OBSERVABLE. Every time two creatures procreate, evolution happens. You're an idiot.

Hunter said...

touching yes, but ultimately flawed. evolution is easily observable on smaller levels, even in insects. there are moths in Texas that have evolved an immunity to common pesticides. the common cold evolves into so many variants each year that a cure is not possible. evolution occurs generally in small increments, and is easily documented.

Karthik said...

@Anonymous: As I stated in my post, its a forwarded email chain and has been pretty popular I guess. In the link I gave below, I posted some sites which have the opposite version of the same too :)

I have in no way mentioned that whatever is presented in the conversation is true and neither have I mentioned that I agree with every bit of it. So it estimates your understanding of one's understanding. Regarding being an Idiot, perhaps I am and perhaps I am not. But, for you to decide in the split of a second and post, I guess that sure is instantaneous and did not "evolve" over a period of time ... :)

Karthik said...

@hunter: Totally agreed that its touching and perhaps it is flawed. One thing, I would like to mention is if Evolution was the only thing that caught your attention. I am surprised that other things didn't get noticed by you. Evolution is probably documented, I am not taking sides nor am I against evolution, it's just that the conversation is an interesting read and opens up a brief channel of thought even if it was for a brief moment..

AnneK said...

I do remember you forwarding it. Totally off topic, isn't it amazing that the internet and comments on bloggers is a great place for cowards to hide? Like the one who commented first on this post? He/She/It wants to call you an idiot, but does not have the guts to come out and say it.

Pathetic!

ragerman said...

I don't agree with the theoretical conversation either, karthik. But I appreciate your honest and humble way of approaching things. Bloggers everywhere could learn a few things! The blogosphere is full of people (sadly incl me!) that think they have all the answers.

keep up the spirit of enquiry!

Anonymous said...

Ohho hoooo I have seen this sort of posts n number of times. THis is a crap of first kind... U may have certianly wasted much time posting this and me answering this...

n tends to infinity......

The Familiar Challenger

Karthik said...

@anneK, If the first poster or other anonymous commenters want to reveal their identity when they blurt out something instantaneously, then we would probably end up in blog wars all over the internet :) But, as you said comments in blogging world is indeed a great place to say what you want to say behind the "anonymous" tag, call it cowardice or call it lack of total belief in what they want to say to an extent to back it with their name, these anonymous commenters are here to stay in this blogging world for long :)

Karthik said...

@ragerman: Thanks for your nice words, I don't agree completely with the conversation either like you, but I tend to see it more from a theistic point of view. I don't know if I placed a few things for bloggers all over to learn here, but I sure have learned it the harder way that when someone is convinced about something, you can only get your side to be heard but not believed in. I wouldn't believe you are one of them, since I am guessing you are an Atheist and still didn't get provoked by the post, which shows you are a lot more balanced...

Karthik said...

@anonymous 2: I am sorry you had to read this post (n+1)th time, but as n tends to infinity, (n+1) tends towards infinity too and so I don't think reading it one more time got you any closer or farther from infinity at all. But anyways, thanks for dropping a couple of lines saying what you feel about the post. I guess Atheists are more outspoken and hence most of the comments of an online forum below my original post or the comments here tend to weigh the balance towards Atheism, but hey we can't decide from smaller samples :)

Rich Rodriguez said...

"Dialogue with a young theist." by Todangst.

A philosophy professor challenged his students with a form of the Euthyphro dilema: Did 'God' create everything that exists?" A student replied, "Yes, he did!" (The 'bravely' part is removed, seeing as civil disagreement is the very point of philosphy courses, no bravery is required for dissent. In fact, civil dissent is often rewarded in a philosophy class.)

"God created everything?" the professor asked. "Yes," the student replied. (The 'sir' part is removed, as no student in the 21st century addresses a college professor in this fashion, and the use of 'sir' is just a pretense of 'respect' from the theist mouthpiece who's actually feeling little more than contempt for the professor.'

The professor answered, "Well then, here's a logical puzzle for you: If God created everything, then God created evil; since evil exists and, according to the principal that our works define who we are, then God is evil."

The student became silently enraged over his worldview being 'attacked'. He began to project out his feelings of inadequecy as smugness coming from the professor.

The student then said: "Can I ask you a question professor?"

"Of course," replied the professor. That's the point of philosophical discourse. (The writer of the original story clearly has little experience with a real college classroom. The whole point of a philosophy or theology course is to foster discussion.)

Student: Is there such thing as heat?"

Professor: Yes, the professor replies. There's heat.

Student: "Is there such a thing as cold?"

Professor: "Yes, there's cold too."

Student: "No, sir, there isn't"

The professor doesn't grin or frown or react with any emotion other than curiosity. (The desire to see the professors 'smug smile wiped off his face' is just another projection of the feelings of inadequecy found in theists who argue like this sort of pablum...)

The student continues. You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat but we don't have anything called 'cold'. We can hit 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold, otherwise we would be able to go colder than 458, You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it"

Professor: (Nodding his head in dismay, and working out how many times he's heard this bad logic by now). Do you remember the section in your workbook on semantic fallacies? By your "logic" we could also say there is no 'heat', only differing degrees of cold.

Student: ( gives a confused look a dog might make)

Professor: Your choice of 'heat' over 'cold' was arbitrary. In reality, both 'heat' and 'cold' are subjective terms... what the philosopher John Locke properly called "secondary qualities". The secondary qualities refer to a very real phenomena: the movement of atomic and sub atomic particles. We refer to their different rates of movement as 'temperature.' So what we 'really' have is temperature.... the terms 'heat' and "cold' are merely subjective terms we use to denote our relative experience of temperature. So your entire argument is specious at best. You have not 'proven' that 'cold' does not exist, what you have done is shown that 'cold' is a subjective term. Removing the term we use to reference the phenomena does not eradicate the phenomena.

Student: (a bit stunned) "Uh... Ok.... Well, is there such a thing as darkness, professor?"

Professor: You are still employing the same logical fallacy. Just with a different set of of secondary qualities.

Student: "So you say there is such a thing as darkness?"

Professor: "What I am telling you is that you are repeating the very same error. "Darkness exists as a secondary quality.

Student: "You're wrong again. Darkness is not something, it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it's called darkness, isn't it? That's the meaning we use to define the word. In reality, Darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker and give me a jar of it. Can you give me a jar of darker darkness, professor?

Professor: Sure, right after you give me a jar of light. Seriously, what we call 'light' is actually a reference to photons. You've confused a secondary quality with an attribute again. "Light and dark' are subjective terms we use to describe a measure of photons. The photons actually exist, the terms 'light' and 'dark' are just subjective, relative terms... Doing away with a subjective term does not eradicate the actual phenomena itself - the photons.

Student: (gives a look not unlike a 3 year old trying to work out quantum physics)

Professor: I see your still struggling with the fallacy hidden in your argument. But let's continue, perhaps you'll see it.

Student: Well, you are working on the premise of duality", the christian explains.

Professor: Actually, I've debunked that claim two times now. But carry on.

Student: "Well, you assume, for example, that there is a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure.

Professor: And here, my class, we have a special plead fallacy. Be careful, my student. If you want to place your god beyond the grasps of reason, logic, and science and make him 'unmeasurable', then you are left with nothing but a mystery. So if you use this special plead to solve the problem, you can't call your god moral either. You can't call him anything. You can't say anything else about something beyond reason. So your solution is akin to treating dandruf by decapitation.

Student: (Gulps. Continues on, oblivious to what was just said) Sir, science cannot even explain a thought. It uses electricity and magnetism but has never seen, much less fully understood them.

Professor: You just said that science cannot explain a thought. I'm not even sure what you mean by that. I think what you mean to say is this: there remains many mysteries in neuroscience. Would you agree?

Student: Yes sir.

Professor: And, along the same line of thought, we accept that there are things like thoughts, or electricity or magnetism even though we have never seen them?

Student: Yes!

Professor: Recall the section in your textbook concerning fallacies of false presumption. Turn to the entry on 'Category error'. You'll recall that a category error occurs when an inappropriate measure is used in regards to an entity, such as asking someone what the color a sound is. Asking someone to see magnetism commits such an error. However, there is yet another error in your argument: it assumes that empiricism relates to vision alone. This is false. Sight is not the sole means of knowing the world. We can use other senses to detect these phenomena. And we can view their effects upon the world. Furthermore, Again, you are conflating the fact that science is incomplete with the ridiculous implication that science knows 'nothing' about these phenomena... so you'll also want to review the section on 'arguing from ignorance.' Do you have more to say?

Student: (The student, continues, mainly unfazed, due to the protection his shield of ignorance affords him.) .... Um....... to view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, merely the absence of it"

Professor: You are really in love with this secondary quality fallacy, aren't you? You are again confusing a secondary quality with the phenomena in of itself. "Death" and "life" are subjective terms we use to describe a more fundamental phenomena - biology. The phenomena in question, however, does exist. Biological forms in various states exist. Doing away with the subjective term does not eradicate the existence of death.

Nonplussed, the young man continues: "Is there such a thing as immorality?"

Professor: (Reaches for an asprin in his desk) Son... you're not going to again confuse a secondary quality for an attribute, are you? Please... what can I do to help you see this problem?

Student: (Continues on, fueled by ideology and oblivious to reality) You see, immorality is merely the absence of morality. Is there such thing as injustice? No. Injustice is the absence of justice. Is there such a thing as evil?" The christian pauses. "Isn't evil the absence of good?"

Professor: So, if someone murders your mother tonight, nothing happened? There was just an absence of morality in your house? Wait, I forgot... she's not dead... she's just experiencing an absence of life, right?

Student: Uh.....

Professor: You're beginning to see that something is missing in your argument, aren't you? Here's what your missing. You are confusing a secondary quality... a subjective term that we can use to describe a phenomena, for the phenomena itself. Perhaps you heard me mention this before? (The class erupts in laughter, the professor motions for them to stop laughing.) 'Immorality' is a descriptive term for a behavior. The terms are secondary, but the behaviors exist. So if you remove the secondary qualities, you do nothing to eradicate the real behavior that the terms only exist to describe. So by saying that 'immorality' is a lack of morality, you are not removing immorality from existence, you are just removing the secondary attribute, the term. And notice how dishonest your argument is... in that it speaks of morality and immorality devoid of behavior, but 'evil' exists as a behavior, evil is an intent to do harm. By the way, are you really trying to imply that immorality or evil are merely subjective qualities?

Student: Gulp! (Reeling from the psychological blows to his corrupt worldview....) Sir, Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?"
The professor soothes his aching forehead, and prepares for the 1 millionth time that he will be subjected to the 'can you see the wind' argument.

Professor: What an interesting turn this conversation has taken. Can I advise you to read Brofenbrenner's suggestion against arguing over subjects over which you are uninformed? It's in your textbook.

Student: "Professor, since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a priest?

Professor: Interesting indirect comment on the priesthood. But let's leave that aside... We do observe the process of evolution at work, for the process works at this very moment. As for the implication in your argument that one must 'be there' to observe a process at it occurs, surely you realize that we can infer the process through examining the evidence that these processes leave behind? In a sense, we 'are there' when we observe artifacts. Consider for example the science of astronomy. How do we know about super novas? Because we can observe diferrent supernovas in different stages of super nova, by observing their 'artifacts' in the night sky. The same stands for any historical science. Your mistake here is that you think science is merely observation, and 'real-time-observation' at that...This is a strawman of science. Science is both direct and indirect observation... it also allows for inference.

Student: "But sir! You stated that science is the study of observed phenomena.

Professor: No, this is a strawman of what science is... Science is more than just real time observation, we also make inferences. But continue....

Student: (Responds to this as a goat might respond to a book on calculus) May I give you an example of what I mean?"

Professor: Certainly.

Student: "Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen air, oxygen, molecules, atoms, the professor's brain?"

The class breaks out in laughter. The christian points towards professor, "Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor's brain... felt the professor's brain, touched or smelt the professor's brain?" "No one appears to have done so", The christian shakes his head sadly. "It appears no one here has had any sensory perception of the professor's brain whatsoever. Well, according to the rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science, I declare that the professor has no brain!"

Professor: You mean, according to your strawman view of science. I am glad that you are here in my class so that I can help you better understand what you criticize. Science is not merely 'looking' at things. Science is empirical, but also rational. We can make inferences from evidence of things that we do see, back to phenonema that we might not be able to directly see. And one inference I can make from observing your behaviors here today is that you've wasted the money you've spent on your logic textbook so far this year. I strongly advise, for your own sake, that you crack open that book today, and start reading

Anonymous said...

buy viagra in london england viagra prices viagra by mail what is generic viagra viagra cialis lowest price viagra does viagra really work which is better cialis or viagra viagra free sites computer find pharmacy viagra buy online viagra suppliers of viagra viagra pills viagra benefits