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September 19, 2006

Christians and Frozen Yogurt

A nice line from Sam Harris, as quoted in Newsweek:

Tell a devout Christian ... that frozen yogurt can make a man invisible, and he is likely to require as much evidence as anyone else, and to be persuaded only to the extent that you give it. Tell him that the book he keeps by his bed was written by an invisible deity who will punish him with fire for eternity if he fails to accept its every incredible claim about the universe, and he seems to require no evidence whatsoever.

Posted by Mitchell Stephens at September 19, 2006 6:08 PM


I has to be Chinese Frozen Yogurt with the little pieces of mushrooms. (Works for women,too).

Posted by: Jay Saul at September 19, 2006 6:37 PM

The yogurt comment is rather funny. Although, I would argue that the Hebrew G-d is 1/3 less fat than other deities. Ok. Bad joke. Bad Jew.

Anyway, I think people buy material claims all the time without evidence. That's why businesses spend billions on advertising convincing people that their products (generally virtually identical to other products) are miracle workers. That's also why spam is still going strong. People are so easily convinced that there's an easy way to lose weight, make money, make more friends, be more attractive to the opposite sex, save their marriage, etc. Rarely does anyone ask for evidence that any of this stuff really works and they often ignore evidence that they either don't work or work no better than any other product/diet/self-help book.

Posted by: Melinda Barton at September 20, 2006 4:08 PM

Clever. I wish I had thought of that.

Posted by: pablo at September 20, 2006 7:13 PM

funny, but why does he say it? I agree if he has in mind people who have a superstitious/spooky/insurance policy view of God who does only the bizzare. But I expect in this discussion it's more broad. In which case why does he think belief in God must be blind to facts?

For instance the God we meet in the bible expects people to look at him, what he's done in history and draw the conclusions?

"the blind faith" category really just stems from Kant, but whatever we make of Kant we cannot uncritically take it out of his context, as he was comparing the scientific method of rationalism with his arguments for God from (eg) the moral law within and without and other areas

...even if you agree with Kant's reasoning (which I dont) you cannot just take his separation of "faith" from "reason" (=rationalistic) out of that context and into ours (where we dont share his theistic presuppostions)...otherwise "faith" isnt taken as "not scientific rationalism" (which we dont agree with any more), but "not reasonable, or unwarranted"

I agree with Dawkins that this kind of blind faith, "in the teeth of evidence" is stupid, of which many (american particularly) christians are strangely guilty in dismissing science for example.

Posted by: Chris Oldfield at September 21, 2006 3:38 PM

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