Religious Experience – Recognizing God

Religious Experience – Recognizing God March 29, 2015

Sam said to me and our gathered friends:

Give me someone who is willing to sit down and take a three-hour Chemistry test, and another hour to review the test after it is completed, then I will be able to give you a reliable estimation of how much that person knows about chemistry.

This claim was plausible; it made sense to me, especially in view of the fact that the Graduate Record Exam Chemistry Test has about 130 multiple-choice questions, and students are given two hours and fifty minutes to take the test.  The GRE Chemistry Test does NOT attempt to assess all current knowledge of chemistry.  It has a somewhat more limited scope:

 Scores on the tests are intended to indicate knowledge of the subject matter emphasized in many undergraduate programs as preparation for graduate study.  (p.3, Graduate Record Examinations Chemistry Test Practice Book, copyright 2009 by Educational Testing Service.)

Because of the diversity of undergraduate curricula, it is not possible for a single test to cover all the material you may have studied.  The examiners, therefore, select questions that test the basic knowledge and skills most important for successful graduate study in the particular field. (p.4, Graduate Record Examinations Chemistry Test Practice Book, copyright 2009 by Educational Testing Service.)

So, I was inclined to believe Sam’s claim.  But then Jack made a stronger claim:

Give me someone who is willing to talk with me about chemistry for twenty minutes, then I will be able to give you a reliable estimation of how much that person knows about chemistry.

If it takes professional educational testers about three hours to determine the level of “the basic knowledge and skills most important for successful graduate study” in chemistry, then I am skeptical that Jack can provide a reliable assessment of a person’s knowledge of chemistry based on  just one twenty minute conversation.

Then Cheryl made an even more incredible claim:

Give me someone who is willing to talk with me about chemistry for just ten minutes, then I will be able to give you a reliable estimation of how much that person knows about chemistry.

I flat out did not believe Cheryl’s claim; there is simply no way that a ten minute conversation could provide enough information about a person’s knowledge of chemistry to make a reliable estimation of the extent of that person’s knowledge of chemistry.  Then Bob chimed in with an even more unbelievable claim:

Let me talk with someone about current politics for just five minutes, then I will be able to give you a reliable estimation of how much that person knows about chemistry.

Not to be outdone, across the room I hear Cindy pipe up:

Let me just sit in the same room with a person, not talk to them, just observe them for five minutes, then I will be able to give you a reliable estimation of how much that person knows about chemistry.

Apparently, there was some sort of extreme bullshitting contest going on, and my friends were all seing who could make the most ridiculous claim.  Now it was Tom’s turn; he shouted out:

I don’t need to even see the person.  Just put me in the same room with a person, with a blindfold over my eyes, and ear plugs in my ears, and give me just five minutes sitting in the same room with the person, then I will be able to give you a reliable estimation of how much that person knows about chemistry.

I thought that surely Tom had won the contest, but I was mistaken.  It was Shannon’s moment to shine; she proclaimed:

Put me in the same room with a person for five minutes while I’m blindfolded, and with my ears plugged, then I will be able to give you a reliable estimation of how much that person knows about chemistry, physics, and biology.

But this wild claim was quickly topped by Jason, who boasted:

Put me in the same room with a person for five minutes while I’m blindfolded and have my ears plugged, then I will be able to give you a reliable estimation of how much that person knows about chemistry, physics, biology, geology, astronomy, mathematics, pychology, sociology, linguistics, political science, history, philosophy, literature, art, and music.

Finally,  Lisa went for the golden ring and made a claim so absurd that the room, finally, fell silent:

Put me in the same room with an invisible and intangible spirit for just five minutes, and I will determine whether that spirit is omniscient, whether that spirit possesses more knowledge than all the knowledge ever possessed by human beings.

Lisa, you see, claims to be able to recognize when she is in the presence of an omniscient spirit simply by sensing the presence of a spirit for a few minutes.

QUESTION:

Do you think that Lisa won this bullshitting contest?

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