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Isn’t it Possible You Are Wrong?

Posted by on January 22, 2011

That question is asked of me more often than any other.  Probably every atheist and religious skeptic fields that question. Isn’t is possible there is a god?

I’ve seen the famous author Richard Dawkins  (The God Delusion) in person and in videos. He must be asked the question over 100 times a year.

The quick and easy come back is to ask the questioner whether it might be possible that he himself might be wrong.  There never seems to be a responce from a true believer.

The real answer to the question uses up nine pages in Dawkins’ book.  It is not so simple. 

Part of the answer is that, yes, I could be wrong.  A Christian could be wrong.  We could both be wrong. But what do each of us perceive the probabilities are that we are wrong? 

The deep Christian may be 100% certain there is a god.  The agnostic may be 50-50. But, Dawkins, the world’s most famous “atheist” says he is between 99.0% and 99.99% certain there is no god.  He has seen no evidence, but, as a scientist he knows he cannot say it is certain there never will be any.

There is a further complication. Is it possible that someday science might discover a godless origin of the universe? Or, is that impossible?  Dawkins refuses to believe it is impossible.  It was once deemed impossible to put a man on the moon, he notes.  Opening up that possibility changes the argument.

Actually, the question is a silly one.  No scientist would ask another scientist that question.

4 Responses to Isn’t it Possible You Are Wrong?

  1. S. L.

    If you are right and I am wrong — neither of us have lost anything.

    If I am right and You are wrong — I have eternal life and …………..

    • Jon Lindgren

      S. L. Thanks for you comment. That is a common remark all of us receive–that to believe is a harmless hedge. We, of course, do not see it as a harmless hedge. I don’t want to be disrespectful, but I need to explain how we see this issue. Since we have seen no evidence of an afterlife, we have to conclude there is but one life. And, to spend some of it on things we see as mythical, when we could be spending it on activities that make life better for future humans, seems like squandering the opportunity we have. Just our way of seeing it.

      • David

        Almost anything is possible, except, that all contradictory, inimical and mutually exclusive “facts” be correct.
        It is even possible that none of them are.

    • seaofstories

      What would your God think of this approach to faith? I don’t think that many of the monotheistic dieties would look kindly on being seen as a “reasonable wager.” Good luck explaining your position to St. Peter.

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