The Window Theory

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Sir Random's picture
The Window Theory

This is an attempt to create an example scenario which could demonstrate the reasons why attempting to convince an atheist of religious views/claims using purly religious "reasonings" or "logic" will ultimately flop worse than a 300 pound man diving off a 15 foot high diving board into a pool with his arms and legs spread out.

For this example, let's assume that a group of 6 people (3 atheists,and 3 Christians, for example) walk into a 40 foot tall building, with multiple floors, but only has a single column of windows vertically scaling the East facing side(let us assume this is also where the entrance is). In direct veiw of these windows is a 30 foot tall building directly across the street, a small public park (open space, with tree lines enclosing it), and a gas station.

Now, all six people enter the building and qsend a flight of stairs to the first floor. The window here is high enough to see the major things above, with loss of observability due to the tree limbs. They all agree that they can see the building, the gas station, and the park. However, closer inspection of the park reveals an anomaly: there appears to be a pile of light brown material in the park, though the tree limbs obstruct their view enough to make it impossible to tell exactly what it is.

Then, the material seems to move, along with what appears to be a person atop it, leading 4 of the six to say that it could be a horse. After looking through the same window for a few more produces no new insight, the atheists decide to asend to the second floor to have a view less obstructed by the tree limbs. The Christians remain, stating "The object is moving, and there is a person atop it, therefore it must be a horse". Any attempt by the atheists at rationalizing and explaining why moving one floor higher would allow for better understanding of what it could be is met by " I know it is a horse, because I have seen it move with my own eyes." The atheists go on with their desicion to go up a floor. Upon reaching the second floor window, the atheists find that the light brown material is, in fact, a pile of gravel. The "movement" is the shadow of the tree limbs moving when the wind blows, and the person is a kid trying to get on top of the pile. The atheists report this to the religious people, whom are still convinced it is a horse, saying "There is no way those factors could make anything resembling realistic movement, as the eye is perfect. It must be a horse!" The atheists continue to give more and more proof, even going to far as to take pictures and look up the location on Google earth, to no avail. The atheists, realizing it is pointless to try any more, continue to their intended destinations.

CONSTRUCTIVE criticism is appreciated.

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charvakheresy's picture
Thats a lovely example Sir

Thats a lovely example Sir Random. It beautifully describes what most atheists feel.

A chang of point of view can make a world of a difference but dogma always impedes further understanding.

@ John - it is ironic that you posted that quote.
I am sure you are aware that religion has always persecuted irreligion and called it evil.

Sir Random's picture
I'm glad I accomplished what

I'm glad I accomplished what I was trying to do, and glad you think it came out so well.
"A chang of point of view can make a world of a difference but dogma always impedes further understanding." Indeed, especially since anything and everything must somehow be connected to their God in their minds.

Kataclismic's picture
The only problem with this

The only problem with this metaphor is it needs a one-way conclusion. Like in order to prove the point you take the elevator up to the eightieth floor blindfolded and you get to jump off the building with one thing only. If you are convinced it is a horse you get a saddle and the horse will fly up to meet you. If you think it's a pile of gravel then you get a parachute.

Nah, see, this one wouldn't work. It was going okay until we got to the parachute, but you get the idea.

Sir Random's picture
But even after that they

But even after that they would deny it, dispite being dead or having many broken bones. Or put their incorrectness on "God's Plan".

mykcob4's picture
I like your story but stories

I like your story but stories are what they are just a story. It is an example but can it actually be applied? I think not because each situation is different which is what is wrong with scenarios. I am not defending religion here....not at all, but I can rip holes in your story because of application alone. I am guilty of using scenarios so don't be offended by what I have said here.
Courts don't allow scenarios and the reason is that they don't directly apply. Ironically, you have done is exactly what theist do when they apply a biblical story to reality.
For example(here goes me being hypocritical):
A theist reads a story about a person that says they were cured by prayer. They immediately tell an atheist that prayer cured this person. The atheist protest that all the facts are not available and that the theist is jumping to conclusion. The theist immediate quotes stories in the bible about prayer curing people of many problems.
The bible stories don't apply because the bible stories are not at all verified.
AND it doesn't directly relate to the real story that the theist read.
So yes I liked your story about perspective, but no I don't think you can actually develop a scenario that directly applies.
To refute a story properly you have to present the facts just as those facts are and stay on that particular topic.
To prove a story you have to present the facts...ALL the facts just as they are as they relate to THAT particular story....PLUS those that propose a story have the onus to prove it. thus theist must move much before they can go forward i.e. that there is a god, that that god has powers, that that god used or uses those powers..etc...!

charvakheresy's picture
@ mykcob4 - That is certainly

@ mykcob4 - That is certainly true but the story does capture subjectively the frustration we do encounter when conversing with theists on the subject of God or Religion. At times it seems like you are up against a brick wall.

So recently on a family group on whatsapp my uncle sent a forwarded picture with a message from an early 20th century guru explaining the virtues of prayer to which my mother replied that it was actually a quote by the buddha and pertaining to meditation.

Now on this ridiculous topic a discussion broke out and as expected I took a rational stand. I tried to explain that most likely neither said that as there was no evidence of either making that quote as neither spoke english but they assumed it was translated (None of them even cared to know what language the buddha spoke).

I went on to show them that prayer didn't impart any of the virtues it said and so it was futile but as also expected it was met with harsh criticism and finally the discussion was brought to a close by two quotes my uncle posted of a new age guru celebrating revelation.

At that point I felt it futile to push the conversation forward. It seems that whenever you are at a point in a conversation where you find your logic may be just seeping through all the inherent inconsistencies in their dogmatic beliefs is when they will change the tone and start quoting other people with beliefs and you find now the conversation has been shifted to the new quote rather than the original premise and at the end the best thing to do just let it go as no amount of logic will get through unless they want it to.

However I do agree with you that his story is not admissible as proof but more just allegorical.
To quote theists here," I know its true because, I can feel it, I have a personal relationship with whatever the story seems to imply."
(sorry that might have been a bit below the belt for the theists)

Sir Random's picture
@mykcob: Thank you for

@mykcob: Thank you for pointing that out. I felt something was wrong with it, but couldn't pin it. Now I see it was a problem I couldn't have really fixed. And what's a bit of hypocrasy between friends (when it is noted by the hypocrite, and using really harmful)

@Charvak(I really hope I spelled that right)
Yes, they always try to change the subject. It's like hearding sheep with sharp teeth......

mykcob4's picture
As Bill Clinton would say "I

As Bill Clinton would say "I feel your pain." I too am frustrated that no theist will even attempt to think logically, will even consider facts, just go on and on about something they say they "feel."
It is the epitome of stupidity!

Sir Random's picture
"It is the epitome of

"It is the epitome of stupidity!"
I wholeheartedly agree.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Sir Random - "The atheists

Sir Random - "The atheists report this to the religious people, whom are still convinced it is a horse, saying "There is no way those factors could make anything resembling realistic movement, as the eye is perfect. It must be a horse!" The atheists continue to give more and more proof, even going to far as to take pictures and look up the location on Google earth, to no avail."

reminds me of this:

Sir Random's picture
My brain just crashed harder

My brain just crashed harder than a computer with a good 1000 viruses on it after reading that........

ThePragmatic's picture
That link reminds me of this.

That link (or rather your friend) reminds me of this...

[King Arthur cut off both of the Black Knight's arms]
King Arthur: Look, you stupid bastard, you've got no arms left!
Black Knight: Yes I have.
King Arthur: Look!
Black Knight: It's just a flesh wound.
[the Black Knight gets one of his legs cut off]
Black Knight: Right, I'll do you for that!
King Arthur: You'll what?
Black Knight: Come here!
King Arthur: What are you gonna do, bleed on me?
Black Knight: I'm invincible!
King Arthur: ...You're a loony

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