The COSMIC TEA POT

Right off the bat, I want to acknowledge that The Cosmic Tea Pot just sounds cool. If you’re starting a band, there’s your name. You’re welcome.

If you’ve not heard of this, Bertrand Russell (1872–1970) proposed a mythical china teapot orbiting the sun between the earth and mars. He feels that, if he proposed such a thing, a thing which we could never prove with even our best telescopes, then people would not be justified in believing him merely because they could not disprove his claim of a cosmic tea pot.

Russell extends his analogy to the realm of Christianity, saying that he does not feel justified believing in God merely because he cannot disprove the existence of God. And not only does HE think this is clever, but there are all KINDS of people stupid enough to share this little gem as if it’s unanswerable.

Weep for the next generation, America. This is the level of philosophy of which they are capable, and no more. I’m blaming the Teletubbies and Sponge Bob.

I had an atheist who was mad at me for defining atheist to mean “atheist” toss this one at me because he was simple enough to believe its conclusion. But let’s examine it, shall we?

1. The claim invokes the existence of a tea pot. So far so good. I think we can all imagine such a thing, even if we are not, like Russell, British.

2. The claim involves something orbiting the sun between Mars and Earth. I think we’re all familiar with the concept of orbiting the sun. I’m doing it right now. And I think we all feel the evidence for Mars to be sufficient to say it is, and since Mars is not touching the Earth, we know there is a space between us and it. Once again, rocking and rolling. In space.

3. The claim combines these ideas into a single event- a tea pot orbiting the sun between the earth and Mars. Now, had this claim involved a live elephant orbiting the sun between earth and Mars, we could here call it quits. An elephant is possible, and even likely. Orbiting we already agree can happen. But when you put a live elephant in space, he doesn’t do as well as the tea pot. In fact, he dies, and as a result, you eventually lose your funding for your giant trebuchet program. Putting the tea pot into space doesn’t make the scenario impossible, so here we can agree to it being possible.

4. No sane person ever suggested that you must believe anything you cannot disprove. Seriously, if you know of one, send me an email because I really can’t imagine it. It seems that if an atheist is ignorant enough, or if he manages to find a Christian ignorant enough and then assumes that one ignorant Christian somehow represents the entirety of Church history, then he will believe that Christians believe in God because they can’t disprove His existence. I’m wondering if they ever considered how LONG the Bible is. Do they really think it takes more than a thousand pages to say, “Well, I don’t know any good reason to think God ISN’T there, so I suppose Jesus rose from the dead after three days.” It would take a team of lawyers just to fill a single PAGE with that mess.

In the argument about defining “atheist” this was tossed at me in this Russellian way, as if I would say, “OH! OK, I guess you- the self declared atheist who has called my belief in God “Ridiculous” have NO burden of proof, and I am an atheist about this tea pot.” I’m not entirely sure what he expected, but calling upon what I have learned from my seven seasons of Mythbusters on DVD, I said the concept of the tea pot orbiting the sun was Plausible- thus, having no reason to declare it impossible, I was forced to say I was Agnostic toward this tea pot. Now, of course I can come up with a list of reasons I think it VERY unlikely, but thinking something unlikely is not the same as having proved it not to be so.

This is where Russell fails. There are four thousand years worth of arguments, philosophy, and first hand eye witness accounts, including that of God himself, but Russell is either ignorant of them or pretends they aren’t there. Then he decides, based on his ignorance or willing blindness (Probably both) that, therefore it is so improbable and unprovable that God exists that He may as well be a tea pot orbiting the sun. In 1958 he wrote, “nobody can prove that there is not between the Earth and Mars a china teapot revolving in an elliptical orbit, but nobody thinks this sufficiently likely to be taken into account in practice. I think the Christian God just as unlikely.” But of course, in claiming that God is “as unlikely” he has moved from the rejecter of a claim to being the stater of a claim. Thus, in trying to explain why he doesn’t have the burden of proof, he has adopted the burden of proof. WHY, Mr. Russell, is it just as unlikely? After all, the tea pot is something NO ONE claims, and no one offers proof of, and God is something we all know, and for which MANY proofs have been given for thousands of years.

In short, Russell’s philosophy is so ignorant and childish that it can’t help but attract ignorant and childish people to it. Like moths to the flame. MOTHS TO THE FLAME! Which would also be a cool name for a band.

 

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About rentafriend2000
Rocking my 40's with a heart full of love and muffins, science and technology. Jesus loves me and wants me to totally rock! And I am here to help.

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