Subway Bestsellers

Sat next to a woman today who was reading one of the Harry Potter books. I wondered if she was reading it b/c she has kids or if she was reading it because she likes the make-believe aspect. I've gotten through maybe two of the Harry Potter books, but didn't become hooked and haven't seen any of the movies. I like magic as much as the next thinking person, but I've never really been into the fantasy/sci fi genre beyond junior high (possibly up to 10th grade). Last week, I saw a woman reading the Bible on the train and had much the same reaction except it's disconcerting to think that she really believes the stuff that goes on in there such as the parting of the Red Sea and resurrections and virgin births and Jonah surviving in the belly of the whale and all the holy saints and angels and demons, etc.

I've been reading the Dawkin's book at lunch and he makes the point that it's a logical fallacy to claim that the argument for and against there being a God is an equal one; since we can't yet definitvely prove the nonexistence of God, except for, like, the facts of science and evolution and hundreds of other clues. He references Bertrand Russell's parable of the celestial teapot:

Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics (of God) to disprove received dogams, rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving abotu the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescops. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disprove, it is intolerable presumeption on the pat of human reason to doubt it. I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlighted age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.


Liz said…
Hmmm. I'm not sure I buy that the non-existence of God is proven by the fact of evolution. I think there could exist a supreme being AND that evolution could still be correct. For the record - I do believe in evolution. And I'm not sure where I stand on the God thing yet.