One Couple's Stumblings Through Parenthood and Marriage

Friday, September 30, 2005

Two atheists walk into a casino...

A parable and conundrum from our good friend, Sensei.

Sensei say ...

Sensei wirr now present you with a parabre and rogic probrem that wirr make you think rong and wisery. So sit back and imbibe the unpararrered wisdom of Sensei. However, note that Sensei wirr not speak in Japanese accent when he recite parabre ...

Two atheists walk into a casino, one a man, and the other a woman. After sharing some words of agreement about Michael Newdow's quest to remove the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, proclaiming the stupidity of theists, complaining about George Bush and using the current US president as another excuse to reject organized religion (especially Christianity), and analyzing favorite quotes from Nietzsche, they sit down at the same poker table.

Over the course of the rest of the evening, the female atheist absolutely cleans house. She is unbeatable. After her 80th royal flush in a row, the male atheist finally turns to her and says, "You cheated! There's no way you could have been randomly dealt 80 royal flushes in a row. You must be using sleight of hand!" At that point, the female atheist turns to him and smugly replies, "On the contrary, my fine atheistic friend, I assure you that since there is no God, all of the royal flushes came about completely randomly and that you have no valid basis to complain or accuse me of deviously cheating."

Assuming the atheistic world-view is true, which one of the two atheists is correct - the man or the woman?


Raging Wombat said...

I love this logic problem. In a world that supposedly arose from pure chaos, and has developed along purely random lines, how can even the term 'cheating' have any meaning? If we as children born of randomness do anything, than all that we 'do' is done randomly.

Ian said...

Speaking for myself, I don’t see how a god creating a universe for kicks and then giving some guy 80 royal flushes in a row is any more or less random then just drawing the flushes in godless land via random chance. It’s a accidental universe either way, with or without as many gods as you choose.

I would also respectfully disagree with the implication that if someone doesn’t like George Bush, or the policies of George Bush, they are not a Christian. There are many Christian people who disagree with the policies of the president and even question the sincerity of his faith.

Also, just for reference, there are lots of atheists that think “Michael Newdow's quest” is silly and hurtful. Unfortunately, for reasons I have yet to understand, god made this earth replete with ***holes, and he did see fit to make them both Jew and gentile, believer and otherwise.

“For Ye, I have made this earth, and I hath seen to maketh many a jerk to mess with your stuff for my own amusement. I do wisheth you the best of luck with that”
-Achebia 22-7

“No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots.”-George Bush Chicago, Illinois, on August 27, 1987

Raging Wombat said...

Here is Sensei's response to Ian:

Ret Sensei make a few comments in Engrish ...
First, the ultimate question here is one of free will. When the male atheist accused the woman of cheating, this was logically equivalent to saying, "Ma'am, you have a free will, and therefore I have the right to hold you responsible for the sleight of hand you used to gain 80 royal flushes in a row." Unfortunately, free will cannot be reconciled with the atheistic universe. If you want to read failed attempts to smuggle free will into the atheistic world-view, pick up any book that promotes "soft determinism" or "casual determinism" (same thing, slightly different label). However, free will can very easily be reconciled with the theistic world-view! While it would take up to much room here, it is not tough to overturn atheistic attempts to make God's existence (namely His omniscience) and free will incompatible. For example, Newcomb's Paradox is fundamentally flawed. So the point was that God is not the one who gave the female atheist 80 royal flushes in a row - rather she used her God-given free will to cheat. There is good reason to believe that universe with a God could be one in which God gave us free will - namely through a spiritual side to life (whereas the physical is trapped in atheistic determinism, the spiritual is not). The control-freak Deity version of theism is a Straw Man of theism, as is the Deity who created the universe for amusement. God has good reason to have given us free will, even though free will (and the bad choices people have made with it) have resulted in the horrible state of the earth that many atheists now use as a reason to deny God's existence. The ultimate, ultimate point is that we cannot even make sense out of our lives and the things for which we hold each other accountable apart from free will (and also, objective morality). Without free will, even the most simple conversations become stupid. Imagine a monologue beginning with, "I can't help what I'm saying right now, and you don't have enough free will to choose what you think about ... but let's have a rational discussion." However, both free will and objective morality (objective morality is a requisite to conversations actually having moral value and meaning) can be reconciled with theism, and neither of those concepts can be reconciled with atheism. Ergo, to even make sense of our existence, we must first assume that atheism is false. Now perhaps you are thinking of refuting me. However, please bear in mind that if atheism is true, none of us has enough free will to think, much less choose what words we write on a Web site, hence I have an inescapable and convenient excuse for everything I say and do: "I can't help it - my DNA made me do it."
Second, I never said that Christians had to agree with George Bush at all. The hypothetical dialogue was between two atheists and meant to express common complaints about Christianity. It was never, ever meant to imply that Christians have to like George Bush at all. Certain atheists (obviously not you, Ian) commit the Ad Hominem attack fallacy (attacking the person instead of the philosophy) by denouncing Christianity based upon Bush (i.e. they attack Bush instead of Christianity but then claim that Bush, or perhaps the Crusaders of long ago, are good reason to not be Christian). Thank you for your intelletcual honesty in saying that it's possible to be Christian and disagree with George Bush - Kanye West would certainly resent the insinuation that it's impossible to be a Christian without liking Bush.
Third, God saw fit to fill this earth with freewilled humans, and it was those humans with freewill who chose to use their free will to become @$$holes. However, apart from free will, the @$$holes in question cannot be held responsible for being @$$holes, so the statement that there are lots of @$$holes on this earth (clearly heartfelt and implying that these people should be held responsible for being buttish) once again assumes that these people have enough free will to be accountable for their actions - therefore, the act of dennouncing @$$holes also implicitly assumes that atheism is false.
I absolutely believe that atheists should be considered citizens and are quite capable of being patriots! If that quote from Bush is true, I disagree with it vehemently. Ian, you are a very intelligent, freethinking man, and I affirm that absolutely. However, to affirm that you have enough free will to intelligently think, I must first assume that atheism is completely untrue.