The creationist chemist Philip Skell (see below) simply won’t leave me alone. Yesterday he sent me an email proving that atheism is illogical. His “logic” is amusing, and alert readers may want to entertain themselves by posing a hypothetical refutation to what follows (I don’t feel bad about posting this because Skell sent it as a mass mailing to about 20 people):
Date: Wed, 18 Mar 2009 14:27:21 -0700
From: Phil Skell
Subject: it’s not logical to be an atheist (????)
Some years ago I attended an event jointly run by the Humanists and Skeptics. One of the professors, who now heads up the science department of a major university, enjoyed a discussion we were having earlier and asked me to join him to continue our discussion at a post meeting dinner. I was the lone theist and ID advocate in a den of hard core evolutionist and skeptics. (Daniel in the lion’s den, literally) – It was a delight, and the dinner was free. I was placed at the end of the table with the professor on one side and a noted paleontologist on the other (who heads up the national history department of a National Museum). The conversation went something like this:
John; Professor, do you believe there is a God.
Professor: No! I’m an atheist.
John: How much knowledge do you have? Einstein said he had less than 1% of available knowledge. How do you think you compare to Einstein? Would you know more or less.
Professor: I would have to say I know less than Einstein.
John: So there’s over 99% of available knowledge you don’t have. Is that right?
Professor: Yes! That right.
John: So how can you say there is no God unless you know everything there is to know – you can’t can you?
Professor: No! You can’t.
John: You can’t logically be an atheist so you must be either a soft boiled or a hard boiled agnostic.
Professor: What’s the difference?
John: Well a hard boiled agnostic says that you can never know whether God exists or not.and..
Professor: Yes! Then I would have to say that I’m a hard boiled agnostic. I would say you can never know whether God exists or not.
John: But unless you know all there is to know, how can you say that you can never know.
Professor: I can’t really, can I.
John: No! So you must be a soft boiled agnostic.
Professor: What’s a soft boiled agnostic?
.John: Someone who just doesn’t really know for sure. Would that be you, then?
Professor: Yes! I guess so.
At this point the leading paleontologist sitting on the other side of me, who had earlier been distracted, interjected.
Paleontologist: What are you two talking about.
Professor: Whether God exists or not.
Paleontologist: I would have to say that I am agnostic or an atheist.
Professor: it’s not logical to be an atheist.