Are you qualified to discuss God, Heaven and Hell?

Loved this little story I picked up on Facebook. There’s a moral in it somewhere. Perhaps something to try on these God-botherers next time they come knocking on your door.


A Christian was seated next to a little girl on an airplane and he turned to her and said,

“Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger.”

The little girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to the total stranger,

“What would you want to talk about?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” said the Christian. “How about why there is a God, Heaven and Hell, a magical life after death, and that evolution is a lie made up by the devil?” as he smiled smugly.

“Okay,” she said. “Those could be interesting topics but let me ask you a question first:

A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff – grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, but a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?”

The Christian, visibly surprised by the little girl’s intelligence, thinks about it and says,

“Hmmm, I have no idea.”

To which the little girl replies,

“Do you really feel qualified to discuss God, Heaven and Hell, or life after death, when you don’t know shit?”

And then she went back to reading her book!!

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39 responses to “Are you qualified to discuss God, Heaven and Hell?

  1. That little girl is so angry. ;)

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  2. This is a clear case off equivocation. The girl is using the word “shit” in two ways and changes the meaning halfway through her argument. In the first. Instance she uses the word to refer to the dung of various animals but then she changes it and uses it as a slang term to mean “anything”. The implication is that because the Christian does not know anything about dung he therefore does not know about any subject which is a clear logical fallacy.

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  3. I tremble to think that any minute now Mark, Luke and John are going to turn up, join Mathew and also tell us why it isn’t funny.

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  4. That little girl is so angry.

    Nah, she’s militant.

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  5. Well Richard, if you are willing to accept logical fallacies in the place of proper philosophical discourse then that is up to you. Persoanlly I think that rigour and intellectal honesty is vry importnat.

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  6. Yes, Matthew, and so is a sense of humour.

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  7. The purpose of this essay was to use a form of “equivocation” (a logical fallacy) to undermine the authority of religious speakers. As an analogy. If I was to say that Ken does not understand Newton’s theory of gavity, and then to say that he never took things seriously because he could not appreciate the gravity of a situation then you would see the fallacy committed.. I have taught introductory logic, and so know what I am talking about and this is a clear violation of basic rules of logic.

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  8. And I’m sure that despite his appreciation of intellectual honesty there is a barrel of laughs to be had at Matthew’s home.

    meh

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  9. It is possible to have humour without resorting to mud slinging and ad hominid attacks.

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  10. It is possible to have humour without resorting to mud slinging and ad hominid attacks.

    Ought this not be accompanied by a logical proof of the statement.

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  11. Matthew, it is impossible that you have a sense of humour if you see this little Friday story as “mud slinging and ad hominid attacks.”

    Mind you, I think there is an observation here in that such people, the sort who come knocking on my door, claim they know so much about something that they cannot know about. Sometimes it takes the words of an innocent young child to point out the stupidity of such hubris.

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  12. I am presently working on a blog post on common logical fallacies and will place a link to this for the benifit of Ken’s readers. In the mean time you might want to check out Eric Hovind’s post on these issues with which i share much.

    http://www.creationtoday.org/illogical-captain/

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  13. So, Matthew, you are one of those people who delight in showing others they can count to 3?

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  14. I am presently working on a blog post…

    I wish to point out the error in this statement.
    Clearly the writer meant “currently” when he uses “presently”.

    I know what I’m talking about, having once studied English at school.

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  15. Ad homonid attacks are not an answer. The insinuation that Christians cannot count higher than three does not strengthen your argument. Stating something is true does not make it true.

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  16. I suppose it is Friday evening, but no Matthew, you didn’t get my point which was not about Christians. Just naive students of philosophy and logic who love to expressed their reasoning in a 3 step syllogism as if it proves anything. The are so impressed with the formalism of their argument they ignore completely the poor reasoning involved even though obvious to others.

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  17. but it could make it funny.

    Get outta that.

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  18. So, Matthew is portraying confusion between a literal and a context dependent / metaphorical reading of a joke.

    That is some terrifically clever satire, Matthew.

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  19. Hey, Matthew, what is the name if your blog? Do you have a Sitemeter installed? I run a list of NZ blogs which make stats available.

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  20. So Ken rejects basic logical truths then? Logic is built up on syllogisms – all of which can be represented in a trinity (which is no coincidence) of statements as he states. Just because a tool or idea is simple and easy to grasp does not mean that it is not true. Philosophy is built on statements and arguments which can be formalised into lists of numbered premisis and conclusions.

    What is “naive” about understanding logic? I suppose you would say that it is niave to think that 2 + 2 =4 as well?

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  21. …you might want to check out Eric Hovind’s post on these issues with which i share much

    This Eric Hovind?

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  22. Yes he is Kent Hovind’s son, and a powerful Christian Logician.

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  23. Does he still write to daddy care of Federal Correctional Institution at Berlin, New Hampshire?

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  24. I’m sorry, Matthew, much as I may find these little Facebook memes a tad annoying, I find your faux outrage at it more so. You may wish to investigate just how many of these little stories your own side has bouncing around Facebook before griping about this one.

    Now, you may find the joke to be unfunny. I couldn’t fault you on that. But banging on about how logically flawed the joke is when plainly it is intended to subvert peoples’ logical expectations? You’re not doing yourself any favours.

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  25. Richard: I have no idea.. I assume so. It is his Dad.. if my dad was in Prison I would write to him and visit, as I assume you would?

    Kent Hovind did have a lot more charisma and charm… Eric does not have the same basic likability I find.

    Chris B: What side? What have I spread on facebook? I am simply trying to point out a logical fallacy. Most peeople can grasp this,

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  26. Also, typifying a creationist as a “powerful Christian logician” is really not the kind of comparison most Christian scholars would take kindly to.

    I really feel somebody ought express at least a modicum of outrage on their behalf, and it looks like it’s me today.

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  27. I would say that Eric Hovind is right up there with people like William Lane Craig when it comes to logical consistency, good research, and honesty. You may disagree.

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  28. Yes he is Kent Hovind’s son, and a powerful Christian Logician.

    Pretty spectacular failure of logic by Hovind exposed in the potholer54 clip. It screams outright stupidity on Hovind’s part to me.

    So I think I’ll pass on giving him any further serious attention. Thanks all the same.

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  29. I would say that Eric Hovind is right up there with people like William Lane Craig when it comes to logical consistency, good research, and honesty.

    OK, Cedric, we know its you. Joke’s over.

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  30. Not cedric… but had y’all going for a while :D

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  31. Although when you see things like this:

    http://www.mandm.org.nz/2010/07/theres-probably-no-god-fisking-atheist-billboards.html#comment-163473

    I can see why people took me seriously…

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  32. Flannagan also has creepy a gun fetish.

    He is a certifiable weirdo.

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  33. Matthew, we are well aware that, as an argument, the joke is logically flawed. We do not need you to point that out to us.

    I don’t find the joke funny myself. It strikes me as formulaic and all too comparable to the kind of dreck I see making the rounds written by more religious types (that would be ‘your side’ in this context).

    You might, perhaps, argue that the “joke” (I feel quotation marks are justified, considering how unfunny it is) is reliant on the kind of caricatures that are decidedly unhelpful if we want to engage with people who disagree with us in a civilised fashion.

    Or you might argue something else. Please do. But the logic approach is one of those “arguments” in which you are trying to “prove” something which nobody disputes.

    And I suspect you’ll find pushing the creationism angle is really not going to generate any sympathy for your viewpoint, or your credentials when it comes to logic.

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  34. Poe’s Law in action, I suppose.

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  35. Many jokes actually rely on logical flaws for their humour. But this one also is making a point. Now, Matthew, Craig is another one who uses formal syllogisms, but he demonstrates often that he can count as far as 5.

    My point though is that the form of the argument counts for nothing if the individual components are crap. And with Craig this is usually the case.

    He is also a joke from my perspective. For this reason.

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  36. Yep, Peo.
    You had it perfectly. Very believable. The total lack of humour, the prissy philosphical flourishes, the grandiose appeals.
    (applause)
    Thanks Matthew. :)

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  37. Ad “hominid”?

    A new species of human?

    Ah… ad hominem!! (A variety of humus – evidently very tasty.)

    Anyway, must go. God is telling me to run nekkid down the street warning my neighbours that The Daleks are coming! The Daleks are coming!!

    And who am I to ignore the voice of the One True God (Thor)…

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