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Penn Jillette on Religion

There is no god and that's the simple truth. If every trace of any single religion died out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.

Via Daring Fireball via Jason Kottke.

At first I wasn't too sure about that. But religion came about as a way of explaining all kinds of things which are now explained through science. So perhaps if both science and religion were wiped out, we'd be where we are now eventually again. That'd just be history repeating itself - literally.

2 Responses to "Penn Jillette on Religion"

  1. In my very humble opinion it appears to me that religion (in any of it's many forms) and atheism (ditto) are opposite ends of the same stick.

    Do I believe that a god exists, or do I believe that a god does not exist.

    BELIEF [bih-leef] Confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof

    Neither position can be proved or disproved. Therefore, men rely on their "gut feelings" and support these feelings with philosophy. They share these "beliefs" with others, and lead lives based on the tenets developed from their "beliefs".

    This is all natural and healthy. It becomes unhealthy when individuals, or groups with the same "beliefs", attempt to force their tenets on others, or form condescending attitudes towards those with different "beliefs".

    We, as humans, hate to say "I don't know"! It belittles us. So we keep searching for answers. Someday I might get that "gut feeling" and choose one side of the stick or the other. Until then I don't mind saying "I don't know". Some people call this position agnosticism...I just call it logic.

  2. Magicians don't always make the best logicians. First, Jillette's conclusion does not follow from his premises. His argument contins the false assumption that the existence of God cannot be soundly argued from nature. If doing so is possible, the existence of a God can be known without religion. Secondly, Jillette assumes his conclusion to be true in his premises. This is called begging the question and is logically fallacious. He assumes no God would be there to recommunicate any message He might wish to deliver to man should all traces of any prior communication be wiped out. You had good reason to be suspicious of this argument.

    Are you sure religion originated as a way to explain things we now explain through science? I certainly find it reasonable to say things previously unknown by science were attributed to some religious beliefs, but I don't think it's reasonable to assert that religion originated for that purpose.