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8 Bumps

Can't believe it..

The Dragon In My Garage by Carl Sagan

"A fire-breathing dragon lives in my garage" 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 floates 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. What I'm asking you to do comes down to believing, in the absence of evidence, on my say-so. The only thing you've really learned from my insistence that there's a dragon in my garage is that something funny is going on inside my head. You'd wonder, if no physical tests apply, what convinced me. The possibility that it was a dream or a hallucination would certainly enter your mind. But then, why am I taking it so seriously? Maybe I need help. At the least, maybe I've seriously underestimated human fallibility.

Imagine that, despite none of the tests being successful, you wish to be scrupulously open-minded. So you don't outright reject the notion that there's a fire-breathing dragon in my garage. You merely put it on hold. Present evidence is strongly against it, but if a new body of data emerge you're prepared to examine it and see if it convinces you. Surely it's unfair of me to be offended at not being believed; or to criticize you for being stodgy and unimaginative-- merely because you rendered the Scottish verdict of "not proved."

Imagine that things had gone otherwise. The dragon is invisible, all right, but footprints are being made in the flour as you watch. Your infrared detector reads off-scale. The spray paint reveals a jagged crest bobbing in the air before you. No matter how skeptical you might have been about the existence of dragons--to say nothing about invisible ones--you must now acknowledge that there's something here, and that in a preliminary way it's consistent with an invisible, fire-breathing dragon.

Now another scenario: Suppose it's not just me. Suppose that several people of your acquaintance, including people who you're pretty sure don't know each other, all tell you that they have dragons in their garages--but in every case the evidence is maddeningly elusive. All of us admit we're disturbed at being gripped by so odd a conviction so ill-supported by the physical evidence. None of us is a lunatic. We speculate about what it would mean if invisible dragons were really hiding out in garages all over the world, with us humans just catching on. I'd rather it not be true, I tell you. But maybe all those ancient European and Chinese myths about dragons weren't myths at all.

Gratifyingly, some dragon-size footprints in the flour are now reported. But they're never made when a skeptic is looking. An alternative explanation presents itself. On close examination it seems clear that the footprints could have been faked. Another dragon enthusiast shows up with a burnt finger and attributes it to a rare physical manifestation of the dragon's fiery breath. But again, other possibilities exist. We understand that there are other ways to burn fingers besides the breath of invisible dragons. Such "evidence"--no matter how important the dragon advocates consider it--is far from compelling.

Once again, the only sensible approach is tentatively to reject the dragon hypothesis, to be open to future physical data, and to wonder what the cause might be that so many apparently sane and sober people share the same strange delusion.

______________________________________

If god is omnipotent, if he created me and wants nothing more than for me to believe in him, then he knows that all I ( and millions of others) require for belief is physical, empirical proof of him.

If he wants me so bad, why did he create my mind, knowing it would not be capable of belief in him, without that empirical proof?

Why would he create those of us without faith, knowing that we would find faith lacking?

Can an omnipotent god not get what he wants?Is that not a contradiction to omnipotence?

If he created a hell for people who do not do what he most wants, even though he could have exercised his omnipotence to create differently, is he really benevolent? 

Some people think there is blind faith and informed faith. Who created the scale and what is meant by informed

 
clarity333

Asked by clarity333 at 6:32 PM on Jul. 6, 2011 in Religious Debate

Level 22 (13,098 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (135)
  • Your questions are valid but please stop trying to pretend. To answer your question-PEOPLE ARE NOT IDIOTS BECAUSE THEY HOLD A BELIEF IN A DIETY.
    2tinyhineys

    Answer by 2tinyhineys at 7:04 PM on Jul. 6, 2011

  • Funny thing is, there are believers who reject much of what you reject yourself. There are many ways of faith, and not all of them are in line with the kind of belief touched on here. ;)
    bandgeek521

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 7:01 PM on Jul. 6, 2011

  • Those above are all the times you have asked the same question in various forms. We get it, our answers don't satisfy you. Move on, those are the answers, you don't like them fine. You don't have to. But why do you continue to ask the same thing over and over again when you know you're not gonna get an answer you like?

    Sharon
    momto2boys973

    Answer by momto2boys973 at 7:30 PM on Jul. 6, 2011

  • "This reminds me of Russel's Teapot. Who cares if the question has been asked before in other forms? It's still a good question."

    I'm merely asking why again if it has been answered several times already.

    Sharon
    momto2boys973

    Answer by momto2boys973 at 7:43 PM on Jul. 6, 2011

  • "Should your answers be considered the absolute truth? Because they are the truth to you, are the universal truth?"

    No, that's EXACTLY the point. YOU are the one who seems to think our analysis of the evidence is somewhat flawed or has no merit (you words) because we didn't arrive at the same conclusion you did. We have asked you to prove that our analysis indeed flawed and our conclusions have n omerit and all you have managed to say is "reality alone dictates there is no god", which is your PERSONAL OPINION, not evidence of anything.
    So who's really taking her own version of "truth", putting in on apedestal and demeaning the versio nof truth of everyone else? not me, that's for sure. I do respect that you reach a different conclusion. I disagree with your conclusion, but that doesn't mean it has no merit whatsoever. You know... as you say our conclusions are.

    Sharon
    momto2boys973

    Answer by momto2boys973 at 9:35 PM on Jul. 6, 2011

  • "I think it's time for a face palm "


    One isn't gonna do it anymore...



    Sharon

    momto2boys973

    Answer by momto2boys973 at 10:58 PM on Jul. 6, 2011

  • momto2boys973

    Answer by momto2boys973 at 7:29 PM on Jul. 6, 2011

  • "Like me, she will keep asking until someone decides to answer"

    Oh many of us have answered... several times.

    Sharon
    momto2boys973

    Answer by momto2boys973 at 7:44 PM on Jul. 6, 2011

  • "If you've answered the question, don't assume that the OP is asking again to see if you've come up with something new."

    Oh, don't get me wrong . I know that's not the reason why she keeps asking. The whole point was about that NOT being the reason. But hey, if her reaso nis to keep newbies up to date, then I already did that since I posted every time she has made this question before. Voila! they can just read the discussion there .They can read just one, actually. It's pretty much the same discussion in every single one as this was gonna be.

    Sharon
    momto2boys973

    Answer by momto2boys973 at 8:33 PM on Jul. 6, 2011

  • "Clarity333 : great questions however much of it is misconceptions of who God is."

    Exactly, that's what I have been trying to explain all along.And when someone is determined to hang on to those misconceptions even after they've been pointed out many times then there's no possibility they're gonna see those answers as anything more than BS. So what's the point then?

    Sharon
    momto2boys973

    Answer by momto2boys973 at 8:35 PM on Jul. 6, 2011

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