Anecdotes

 
VipersGratitude
 
Avatar
 
 
VipersGratitude
Total Posts:  53
Joined  06-05-2009
 
 
 
11 May 2009 10:19
 

I recieved an unsolicited Chistian pamphlet in the mail a week or two ago.

On the front there is a picture of the atheist bus, and beneath in large bold lettering is the title:

THERE IS
ONE GOD

NOW STOP WORRYING…
TRUST CHRIST AND
ENJOY ETERNAL LIFE

Inside the pamphlet is an anecdote which reads:

“One day an Atheist science teacher admired a beautiful model globe that his fellow christian science teacher had on display in his house. He asked ‘Where did you get this beautiful model?’ His friend replied with a grin, ‘Oh, there was a large bang one day in my bedroom and I went in and the globe had appeared out of nothing!”. The Atheist teacher replied “You don’t expect me to believe that!  - Someone had to make it!” but as he spoke he realised what a fool he had been; not only did this model globe require a creator, but the earth itself could never have come out of nothing! For the first time in his life he bowed his head and acknowledged the existence of God and pleaded with God to forgive him his sins”

That is a fantastic anecdote. It sums up the creationist argument eloquently and memorably. It’s still utter bullshit - The globe would have originally been flat until the science teacher observed it, and also implies that the earth itself was Made in Taiwan. But still, on face value it, it works.

I suggest compiling a list of similar anecdotes, conveying the Atheist perspective in a positive, life-affirming manner…which could perhaps one day make their way in to a printed campaign. I don’t see it as the anecdote being the antithesis of empirical evidence, but rather reclaiming Cognitive Narratology and using it as a stepping stone for people towards a more robust manner of thinking.

[ Edited: 11 May 2009 10:24 by VipersGratitude]
 
 
Scott
 
Avatar
 
 
Scott
Total Posts:  103
Joined  09-05-2009
 
 
 
11 May 2009 18:48
 

I wouldn’t say its a fantastic anecdote. At least in what it really says. It still tries to convey to others that Atheists think that there was nothing, and THEN everything right after. That’s not true. That’s the creationists claim, they’re just too close-minded to see it. Before God invented everything, there was nothing. So there was nothing, then everything. That’s their claim, they just word it differently. And also, inanimate objects needed to be created(such as globes, shoes, tvs), animate objects(such as us, animals, plants) don’t.

But i like what you’re saying, and I think its a good idea. I also think that it should be more than just tid-bits of free-thought, rational thinking and the like. It should also include scientific support, evidence and counter claims to the big creationist/ID arguments (the morality argument and such.)

If this is something that beings to take shape, I’d love to be a part of it.

 
VipersGratitude
 
Avatar
 
 
VipersGratitude
Total Posts:  53
Joined  06-05-2009
 
 
 
11 May 2009 19:19
 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that there’s any wisdom or truth in it…just that it expresses their claim well.

I disagree that it should also include scientific support. They should merely be short stories summarizing the atheist perspective.

I cant see how ” One day there was a theist who made a claim, but a scientist rebutted with a meta-analysis of data which disproved this claim [see fig. 1.1] on top of that he cross referenced this data with another study with complimentary results [see fig 1.2] and on seeing this the theist and atheist became friends and extrapolated the data in to graphical format [see fig 1.3]” would work as an anecdote

 
 
Scott
 
Avatar
 
 
Scott
Total Posts:  103
Joined  09-05-2009
 
 
 
11 May 2009 19:38
 

Well, I wouldn’t get too deep for the scientific support issue, maybe just the “tip of the iceberg stuff”. Something to wet their palette, peak their interest.

On the other hand, it would be kind of funny to send something overtly scientific to a theist just so they could see a little of what huge evidence there is for atheistic/evolutionary claims.

And i agree, it does sum up their argument well. It’s just that I hate being misrepresented to people. Especially when the claim is from a theist to a theist. It puts our claim in the negatives before any chance of rebuttal.

But i still like the idea and think it would be very beneficial to this site and forums to do.

 
VipersGratitude
 
Avatar
 
 
VipersGratitude
Total Posts:  53
Joined  06-05-2009
 
 
 
11 May 2009 19:42
 

Think Russel’s Teapot

 
 
IndivisibleMan
 
Avatar
 
 
IndivisibleMan
Total Posts:  3
Joined  07-05-2009
 
 
 
11 May 2009 23:53
 

“I disagree that it should also include scientific support. They should merely be short stories summarizing the atheist perspective.”

“What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.” - Christopher Hitchens

We should make sure no one can dismiss the anecdotes we have in the same way we can dismiss ones like those in the pamphlet.

 
DangerousTalk
 
Avatar
 
 
DangerousTalk
Total Posts:  15
Joined  11-05-2009
 
 
 
11 May 2009 23:56
 

I think that is a terrific idea. I have always thought it would be great to have freethought pamphlets. There are a few of them out there from the FFRF and from Normal Bob Smith, but none that are really awesome. I do have a pamphlet for Kissing Hank’s Ass and that is pretty good. It is along the lines that I think you are thinking of in that it is anecdotal. The problem is that it is too long. We need something more pithy.
-Staks

 
 
Norbert Cunningham
 
Avatar
 
 
Norbert Cunningham
Total Posts:  177
Joined  12-05-2009
 
 
 
13 May 2009 01:56
 

Good idea!
That globe might be a thing of beauty, but closer inspection will reveal its age and as it ages it will get increasingly irrelevant as anything but an object of beauty. . . imagine that globe in 100 years when even today it is proudly showing the outlines of Rhodesia, British controlled Hong Kong, and the USSR. I’ve heard many a literary type claim the Bible is the “greatest book ever written” and go on a length about its imagery, its stories, and its tremendously poetic language. . .  well, it does have those things in spades, at least in parts of it. Greatest book ever written? Not by any reasonable, objective standard. It’s atrocious writing. It’s disorganized, contradictory etc, etc. We know all the problems with it. Most influential book ever written, perhaps!
None of which makes it correct, believable or worthy of being accepted as an authoritative text on anything. But like that darn globe, many will indeed call it a thing of beauty. Just don’t look at the details too closely. . . besides, what do they matter anyway, eh? Reminds me of the amplifier scene in Spinal Tap. . . yeah. . . but it goes to 11!

 
Hypersapien
 
Avatar
 
 
Hypersapien
Total Posts:  51
Joined  13-05-2009
 
 
 
14 May 2009 16:12
 

I can’t take credit for this one. I found it here by googling ‘Atheist Parable’.

Two men were walking along a beach. One was young and naive, the other, old and wise.

They walked all day until their feet hurt, and finally reached their destination. Then the young man looked back and exclaimed in excitement: “Look! See those places where there is only one set of footprints? That’s where Jesus carried us.”

The old man replied with a smile, “No, son, you’re wrong. Sometimes you got tired and I carried you, sometimes I got tired and you carried me. But there was no Jesus. The only thing that got us through this long journey, the only thing we ever had, was each other.”

 
jmatthewgore
 
Avatar
 
 
jmatthewgore
Total Posts:  30
Joined  23-04-2009
 
 
 
14 May 2009 16:36
 

Perhaps this is out of place in this thread and belongs in the “Entertainment” section, but one of my favorite stories is H.G. Wells’ “The Country of the Blind”. It is a story about a mountaineer who falls, during a hike in the Andes if I remember correctly, into a valley that has been shut off from the rest of society, and in which all of the inhabitants are blind. Eventually, he tries to tell them about the world as he knows it, and challenges their mythology, and of course the blind people think that he’s crazy and can’t understand what he’s talking about.

If any of you haven’t read it, I’d highly recommend it, and it’s just a short story.

- Matt

 
Hypersapien
 
Avatar
 
 
Hypersapien
Total Posts:  51
Joined  13-05-2009
 
 
 
14 May 2009 16:41
 
jmatthewgore - 14 May 2009 02:36 PM

Perhaps this is out of place in this thread and belongs in the “Entertainment” section, but one of my favorite stories is H.G. Wells’ “The Country of the Blind”. It is a story about a mountaineer who falls, during a hike in the Andes if I remember correctly, into a valley that has been shut off from the rest of society, and in which all of the inhabitants are blind. Eventually, he tries to tell them about the world as he knows it, and challenges their mythology, and of course the blind people think that he’s crazy and can’t understand what he’s talking about.

If any of you haven’t read it, I’d highly recommend it, and it’s just a short story.

- Matt

I haven’t heard of that story, but I’ll check it out.

It reminds me of that saying: In the valley of the blind, the one eyed man is usually stoned to death for witchcraft.

[ Edited: 14 May 2009 16:43 by Hypersapien]
 
Acupuncturist
 
Avatar
 
 
Acupuncturist
Total Posts:  1108
Joined  18-05-2009
 
 
 
18 May 2009 19:39
 

This is a great idea. Since many of the concepts associated with REASON are counter-intuitive, anecdotes are a great way to break the ice. The difficulty is to keep it simple. I am going to try to come up with something.

 
 
Jozee
 
Avatar
 
 
Jozee
Total Posts:  1
Joined  27-06-2008
 
 
 
19 May 2009 17:43
 

Perhaps someone should start compiling religious anecdotes. Then we could discuss how to counter each one. I do think we should aim for short, concise counters—by a short rational argument, followed by a counter-anecdote we create.

I got the following amusing anecdote in an email from a believer friend who knows I’m an unbeliever. Please read, and either add it to our list of anecdotes or help counter it.

 
“An Atheist in the woods”


An atheist was walking through the woods.


“What majestic trees!”
“What powerful rivers!”
“What beautiful animals!”
He said to himself.


As he was walking alongside the river, he heard a rustling
in the bushes behind him.  He turned to look. [scary pic of grizzly was here] a 7-foot grizzly bear charging towards him.


The man ran as fast as he could up the path.  He looked
over his shoulder and saw that the bear was closing in on
him. He looked over his shoulder again, and the bear was
even closer. He tripped and fell on the ground.  He rolled
over to pick himself up but saw that the bear was right on
top of him, reaching for him with his left and raising his
right paw to strike him.

At that instant the Atheist cried out, “Oh my God!”.


Time Stopped.
The bear froze.
The forest was silent.


As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out
of the sky.  “You deny my existence for all these years,
teach others I don’t exist, and even credit creation to a
cosmic accident..  Do you expect me to help you out of
this predicament?  Am I to count you as a believer?”

The atheist looked directly into the light and said, “It
would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask you to treat
me as a Christian now, but perhaps you could make the
BEAR a Christian?”

“Very Well”, said the voice.

The light went out..  The sounds of the forest resumed.
And the bear dropped his right paw, brought both paws
together, bowed his head & spoke:

“Lord bless this food, which I am about to receive from thy
bounty through Christ our Lord, Amen.”


I was planning to counter this by quoting Einstein: “I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation.”

I’d like to add something like this:  “More specificallly, I cannot imagine a God who punishes the objects of his creation for using their supposed God-given brain to conclude that God doesn’t exist—even if they are wrong.”

Can anyone think of a better rational argument against the anecdote, or create a counter anecdote?

Jo

 
 
Hypersapien
 
Avatar
 
 
Hypersapien
Total Posts:  51
Joined  13-05-2009
 
 
 
19 May 2009 17:55
 

I think we are all familiar with this insipid little piece of prose

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed He was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from His life. For each scene He noticed two sets of footprints in the sand. One belonging to Him and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of His life flashed before Him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of His life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times of His life.

This really bothered Him and He questioned the LORD about it. LORD you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.

The LORD replied, my precious, precious child, I Love you and I would never leave you! During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.

Years ago, I found this site (no longer updated) that had a response.

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that as the path of his life grew longer, one set of footprints grew fainter until only the other remained. He also noticed that the faint set of footprints vanished when the very highest and happiest times of his life began.

This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it: “LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that the most successful times in my life begin when there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why you would leave me and not share my joy.”

But the LORD was silent and unseen.

The man walked back and looked for the LORD. He noticed that, as he approached, the two sets of footprints appeared to merge and become one. He realized that the faint set of footprints had not vanished; it was not there. It was merely an illusion, an echo of the other footprints, visible only to a weak and gullible perception.

And the man knew there was only one set of footprints: His own.