An atheist, a theist, and a scientist walk into a bar...

| Tuesday, December 20, 2011
By "bar" I mean "door", and by "walk into" I mean "stand in front of".

They try the knob, but it's locked. There is a weather strip at the bottom so they can't see in at all. The scientist sets about tapping on the door and attempting to move it around in its frame.

Meanwhile the atheist and theist begin to argue.

"What wonderful thing musts be in this room."

"It's empty."

"Of course it's not empty. Why would someone lock an empty room? Why would there be a room for nothing in it? No, it is logical that there would be something in there."

"We had no proof at all of anything in there. It's illogical to assume anything at all, especially that the imaginary items are 'wonderful'".

"You're just being blind. The room is clearly there. It is clearly artificial. It must have a purpose."

"It must have been built. We cannot assume it has a purpose. We definitely cannot assume that purpose is to store 'wonderful things'".

"You're being ridiculous, you cannot even see inside. Anything could be in there!"

"Also, nothing could be in there."

At this point the scientist is thoroughly annoyed with their attempts at philosophy based on poor logic and zero evidence. Thankfully, he carries a gun for these situations, but with one bullet; he's almost a pacifist, but not quite. But what should he do with it? He sees only one way to silence both of them.

He shoots the door, blasting a small hole in it.

Immediately the two combatants switch to physical methods, shoving each other to try to peer inside. It's a small hole and they block the light every time they look, not that they can concentrate, since they keep pushing each other away before they can focus on the dim conditions. But they are at least certain of one thing: the room is dark.

Finally the atheist has come to the conclusion he already had.

"See, I told you it's empty!"

"But it's dark, it could be in that shadow right there."

"The entire room is shadows!"

"Exactly, just imagine all the wonderful things!"

The scientist wanders off to ponder uncertainty and whether a coin flip would determine if God plays dice, musing that the true answer to Schrödinger's cat was to think inside the box.


Ratshag said...

Not exactlies.

The theist sez "there is an infinite glorious kingdom filled with loving talking unicorns and an all-loving vengeful zombie king on the other side of this door."

The atheist sez "it's a room on the other side of this door."

The scientist sez "there's no evidence fer there ta be an infinite glorious kingdom on the other side of this door. Every door we done opened so far leads ta a room, though."

Syl said...

The scientist is usually also the atheist?

In general I like how both science and religious faith really come down to beliefs; one is the belief that only what we can prove exists, the other is the belief that there's more than we can see / empirically reproduce. if you ask the question of god's existence or heaven, none of them can prove or dis-prove a thing - you can only agree to their basic premises or not.

Okay, one small difference maybe - scientists tend to be a lot more arrogant about their faith. ;)

Kring said...

> one is the belief that only what we can prove exists

It's more like that only what you can prove does not not exist.

Gankalicious said...

If I was the scientist I would have shot myself to avoid listening to those two idiots :)

Klepsacovic said...

@Rashtag: Get your own generic placeholders, these ones are mine.

@Syl: You'd be surprised at the number of religious scientists.

Is "nothing" an arbitrary thing? That's what bugs me about many faiths, that their unsupported claims are so specific, and seemingly random. Turtles and old men, for example. It seems to me that the logical thing is to assume that something isn't there until we can prove it is. Or maybe at most we're in a statistical test in which our null hypothesis is "There is nothing", which if disproven (pick your significance level), leads us to accept the alternative "there is something", but tells us absolutely nothing about what it is, making any argument over it seem rather pointless.

@Gankalicious: Dialogue is not my strong point.

R9 said...

I guess to me it's more like, the room is unreachable because it has an adamantium door. And I can't detect any sort of effect or influence on anything, coming from within. So for pragmantic purposes i'm disinterested in the room. Until we discover an adamantium-piercing drill anyway.

If people think there is something nice in there, more power to them and I'm not going to pick a fight over it. But I don't think they can provide a compelling reason that I must agree with them. And I'll get annoyed if they insist there are dire consequences for disagreeing.

Klepsacovic said...

"And I'll get annoyed if they insist there are dire consequences for disagreeing."
Violent fanatics can make that a self-fulfilling claim.

Vatec said...

I'm with R9 on this one. I vary between "apathetic agnostic" (summarized as either "I don't know and I don't care" or "I'm disinterested in the room") and "deist" (well, the fact that there's a door here at all proves "something," if only that the doormaker has a cruel sense of humor).

Of course, one of the biggest problems in the world is that the "atheist" is likely to keep pointing at the "scientist" and saying "he's an 'expert' and he's going to prove, any second now, that I'm right!" when the best the "scientist" can do is tell the "theist" that "currently there certainly isn't an awful lot of evidence supporting your assertions...."

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