Hinduism: Strawberries, therefore God

Hinduism: Strawberries, therefore God December 10, 2014

I feel like I’m done with evidence, though, that’s only tongue-in-cheek.

I was poking around for Hindu arguments for a god. That’s more difficult since Hinduism doesn’t seem to conform to a standard monotheistic model. One stated that Hinduism is broad enough to include atheists… so I’m not likely to find atheist Hindus arguing for a god. Here, I found some comments.

What exotic arguments can Hindus provide for the existence of (at least) a god?

Many many years ago I was very much devoted to a nameless form of Shiva…and though I had never seen proof of such existence I knew it to be so. In a billion years how could a perfect strawberry come to be upon this realm, so perfectly beautiful…and for us to taste and eat?

And I’m done. It’s all the same.

This was my only proof for many years, the simple things around us…the sunrise and sunset…such a miracle each day. That this rock spins with life abounding…this is a miracle despite the science I know is behind it.

How is the sunrise and sunset a miracle? What laws of physics were suspended? As far as I understand it, we get those due to things like Newton’s Laws of Motion, and red-shifting of light through the atmosphere. What part of that requires divine intervention?

The Strawberry Argument… it’s almost an argument I can get behind… because strawberries. Beyond scoring points for being strawberries, it’s one of those cases where the person is missing something obvious – a scientific cause for it.

Well, in a way, the person is kind of right. The large sumptuous strawberries we see in stores were created… by humans. We specifically bred them to be that way. We’ve done similar to crops across the board – bananas, corn, carrots, etc. So the reason why they’re so appealing to us is because we bred them to be appealing to us.

… but to even get to that state, we have evolution. Plant species that could spread their seeds around, were less likely to go extinct. Some plants fell into the “berry” niche, where the bright, nutritious and delicious fruits were eaten by creatures like bears and bats, and pooped around, far away from the originating plant. It’s easy to establish a model for how Natural Selection could easily produce something like the strawberries we know.

Did that ever occur to this person? I have no idea.. maybe he/she considered it and dismissed it for some unspecified reason. The rational provided was “I can’t think of anything better, so let’s go with magic“, and that’s the proof. If the evolutionary angle is presented to this person, would he/she realize that the “I can’t think of anything better” evidence is a poor approach? It fell flat on its face here, so it can’t be that good.

 

It may sound strange to say this, but I’m increasingly thinking that the evidence, for or against a theistic claim, is a distraction.

Watch any debate between an atheist and a theist, and then read the comments from their respective audiences – there’s a high chance you’ll find that each audience thinks their side won. That’s not because one (or both) of the sides are being dishonest, are lying to themselves, etc… one (or both) don’t really know what “evidence” is.

The atheists will think the atheist won, because the theist didn’t provide any logical (or logical-fallacy-less) positive evidence, and the theists will think the theist won because there were things the atheist couldn’t answer, therefore the theists’ claims are true by default.

We’re running on two entirely different epistemological frameworks. Then again, it’s easy to demonstrate that one works blatantly better over the other.

 

Another commenter continues, demonstrating the faulty framework. Let’s examine thought process.

 i) Can a world like this spring out from unconscious things ?

Sure, why not? I don’t know whether it has, but whatever I accept as true, I’ll try to keep it to things that are sufficiently demonstrated by evidence.

This world is very well logically made.

What does that even mean? That Earth is Earth, and Earth is not not Earth?

  It is not possible to have such an arrangement without any very super intelligence working behind it.

… why not? Why do you think this? The person’s position may as well be “I believe the evidence for God is that I’m assuming that a God is required, therefore God exists.

  So, shall we assume that there is some very intelligent entity called God which is creating all this ?

Ah, that is the commenter’s position… No, why should we?

Is it not possible that this whole world is itself intelligent …

Why not? How did you come to this conclusion? Who is suggesting it is? What is going on? Where am I?

… is itself the material & efficient cause of itself ?

No, I don’t think the Earth “caused itself”… I’m not sure what that means either. There was stardust that accumulated into planets and moons. Why would that require an intelligence?

Here there are only two logical conclusions arising out of this analysis. There is either something called God who is super intelligent & omnipotent who created this world all systems working within it OR the whole world itself is the Intelligent Creator of itself. 

… the hell? Why do you think those are the only two possibilities? Because of your baseless assertion that it required some kind of intelligence, and you could only think of two sources of intelligence?

How about a third option – naturalistic rules of the universe resulted in particular patterns and arrangements of matter? Planets are a pattern, and all that required was gravity and dust.

ii) Let’s proceed with the first possibility that a God exists. If God exists then what should be the characteristics of such a God ?

It’s a lot easier when there’s an example to examine, instead of making up an entity and then asking what it’d be like.

Have we established that it’s actually a possibility? It’s a strange double standard. Intelligence, apparently, cannot rise on its own… except if it’s the god. Then that’s entirely logical.

This is where the theistic epistemological framework leaves me behind. We’ve just accepted a number of undemonstrated unevidenced unsupported bald-faced assertions … not for no good reason… but for no reason at all.

… and now we’re frolicking along as though no epistemic train-wreck just happened.

What are the assumptions before we accept that God exists ?

You mean besides all the ones given up to this point?

The specification of God must fulfil these criteria, if God has to pass the test for being a true God :

Weren’t we just asking what characteristics a god must have? Now the commenter is dictating them.

1) He must be the origin and end of everything. If not, then that would mean that there was something which came into being on its own (or there exist some other agency which can destroy anything in God’s created world) …

So he’s the base case. Okay, fine.

… & that would need another God & that would be ridiculous regression.

Now it’s ridiculous? The making up an entity based on a set of unwarranted assumptions wasn’t ridiculous, but that is? Maybe there’s separate gods – one that create universe, and meta-gods that create regular gods. Maybe there’s multiple simultaneous eternal gods, and it’s random which one created “everything.”

… as long as we’re just making stuff up, why not?

I’ve pointed out before, that the strict definition such as this may exclude the reality that there’s an intelligence that created the universe, but no gods exist, because it’s not fitting this narrow definition.

That further means that in the beginning there cannot be anything except God … not even space (as everything has to be created from God as the material by God as the agent).

That’s not ridiculous at all. A mind that exists apart from any mechanism? I’d challenge the author to cite an example of a brainless (whether organic or mechanical) mind.

So, God must create everything within Himself (as there exists nothing outside God) and by transforming Himself (as there is no other material to begin with, He alone exists). 

This statement makes no sense, but is clearly obviously not ridiculous. What is God made of? Higgs bosons?

2) God must be in complete control of this world …. as it is his design & result of his own intelligence & there is no intelligence apart from Himself. So, He must be omnipotent and omniscient. 

Why any of this? How do you figure? Why are you declaring this as a requirement?

3) Such a God who alone exists & anything which manifests in this world is His creation … He can’t be a jealous God as depicted in the Bible as He fully knows that there is no God except Himself. So, it would be ridiculous on His part to be jealous of something which He fully know that it doesn’t exist

Even if we were to accept the previous billion compounded assumptions, this doesn’t really follow either. If he created humans to praise and worship him, he might get pissed if they end up worshiping the wrong things.

Again, He must know the strengths & weaknesses of his design which He would must have made taking a conscious decision (because He is Super Intelligent). So, He is fully responsible for the strengths and also weaknesses of His own design.

Thanks for the wisdom teeth, then.

Therefore, He must be compassionate towards His own creations in spite of all their weaknesses.

Maybe he’s irrationally just a angry god? How does this follow? We’re assuming that the entity is right in the head.

As He has not revealed Himself, he must be equally compassionate towards all beings whether they worship Him in one name/form or the other or even if they are atheist

… Or maybe he’s a psychopath? All that time alone… who knows what it did to this entity’s mind.

as any mistake committed by His own designed being is due to His own “faulty design”. Also, as He is super intelligent and omnipotent He must be able to predict what his own designed beings could do with the given logical design of their existence.

Yes, the blind spot in the retina was very logical. So was the appendix, the uninhabitable nature of large swaths of the planet’s surface, and the instant-fatality of the rest of the universe.

It is not logical to think that He created this world for people to worship Him or for praising Him or even for showing His opulence etc. … must be free from such petty feelings.  We can logically expect that He must be having the feelings of a Mother & also of a Father towards His own creation 

Please please please stop using that word. You don’t have the faintest clue what it means. “Logical” doesn’t mean “it makes sense to me that…” A big part of logic is that the premises must be actually true, in order for the conclusion to follow. At this point, we’re about 10-generations-removed from being in the same dimension as any demonstrably true premise.

We’re so far down the rabbit hole that the logical absolutes have turned into carrot cake.

 … as we have got all godly feelings from Him. Therefore, this creation must be some sport created due to His own peculiar Nature to create. 

So he created a computer simulation full of death, carnage and suffering, just out of sport?

 

He continues like this for awhile yet.

Moreover, it is quite logical to assume that He must have created systems of discipline for this world alongwith this creation & He would not like to interfere with the system of judgement. So, even though He loves everyone, the rules must apply to all without any favour or bias towards any one. 

On and on, he just makes one wild assumption or assertion after another, and then randomly slaps “it is logical” into the sentence.

Almost any discussion with an apologist flies off into lala land like this. It’s very difficult to keep him/her grounded here in reality. This is why we need to dig deeper, and discuss with them, not the evidence or the claims, but the low-level process for which they assess claims, establish arguments, and employ data.

Otherwise, it’s like having a cookie-baking contest between a professional chef, and someone who tries to sing cookies into existence, and you can’t prove that the cookies aren’t there on the baking sheet in a parallel universe.

 

So how do Hindu arguments compare to Muslim and Christian ones? I can’t tell the difference.

 

One last comment, because I find it irksome.

The standard atheist response to this is to shift the Burden of Proof onto the theist. “You claim God exists, prove it. No, we will not accept questions like ‘Who created the world?’ or any proof per accidens. You want to know how we atheists think the world started? Something just all of a sudden sprang out of nothing. There.”

There’s only  a couple atheists, that I’ve hard making this claim that everything “sprang out of nothing”, and that’s Lawrence Krauss and Victor Stenger, both physicists, but the definition of “nothing” is different than what normal people mean. Other than that, no atheist anywhere thinks this.

We’re happy to admit that we don’t know. But it’s easier to just keep lying about our position, then actually defending theirs.

Only in theist-world is it “shifting the burden of proof”, to insist that the person making the claim has to back it up.

 

 

 


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