Wednesday, August 27, 2008

1:2:6 - A faulty proof for God

First of all, yay for my first post of substance here at the Bloggadah.
Second of all, sorry to whoever actually has this day, but I just about flipped my lid when I was reading this and I just had to jump in. I could barely contain myself.

1:2:6 exerts:
"A heretic came to Rabbi Akiva and asked 'Who created the world?' Rabbi Akiva replied, 'The Holy One, blessed be He.' The heretic said, 'Show me clear proof.' [...] Rabbi Akiva asked him, 'What are you wearing?' The heretic replied, 'A garment.' Rabbi Akiva asked, 'Who made it?' The heretic said, 'A weaver.' 'I don't believe you,' said Rabbi Akiva. 'Show me clear proof.'"

Okay. As an agnostic located just north of atheist, I get really upset about this particular proof for God's creation of the world.

Sitting on my desk as I write this is and iPod, a faily intricate and wondrous piece of technology. Do I assume that it is as naturally occuring as the trees I can see outside my window? No, I certainly do not. Why is this? Because I have seen, on the news and elsewhere, stock footage of factories full of workers in Asia and elsewhere creating just such intricate and wondrous pieces of technology.

In short, I have seen such devices being made and I have seen the people who make them.

Now, let us turn our attention to the trees I can see out my window as I sit here typing this. For the trees, there is no stock footage analagous to that which encourages me to believe that my iPod was made by human beings. Certainly, I have seen people plant trees. I have even planted trees myself, but I know that the tree is a sort of self-propelling system. Someday, the trees out my window will drop nuts and they will take root and grow new trees. I have even seen footage of scientists in laboratories, manipulating genomes and creating new types of plants. But even they cannot create the system that gave rise the trees' genetic makeup. No one can invent a way for genetics to work.

But never have I seen anyone, anything, or anygod create anything, including all of those things that we all call naturally-occuring. For the iPod, there is a pattern: I have seen similar things created by humans, thus I can assume that humans create iPods and similar devices.

For the tree (or the mountain, or the sun, or whathaveyou) there is no pattern: I have never seen one created thus i cannot assume that anyone, anything, or anygod created them. I can make no assumptions.


anotherqueerjubu said...

I found this passage rather unsatisfactory myself. However, I also heard a resonance with the first words of the Buddha upon reaching enlightenment:

"O housebuilder (Craving), thou art seen.
Thou shalt build no house (Body) again.
All thy rafters (Passions) are broken.
Thy ridge-pole (Ignorance) is shattered.
Mind Attains the Unconditioned.
Achieved is the End of Craving."

Here, all that is created is seen as an expression of desire — desire that can never be satisfied.

What builder does the house of all creation proclaim? If one looks to a character, that is to say a deity with a personality, I find myself drifting to the bu side of my jubu relationship to the Divine.

Anonymous said...

I've always found that story annoying as well. It's equating fairly straightforward construction using preexisting materials with the creation of the universe ex nihilo. If he had compared the creation of the world to the forming of emotion or the birth of a child or something like that, I would find it a far more satisfying parable. Those creations have earthly components as well, but there is a certain element of ineffability about them and their processes are not well understood even today.

Benjamin said...

If you take a step even farther back to something like E=mc^2, how is it that matter exists and not just energy, what is it that "encapsulates" energy, and what makes the rules of nature, rules. Why are there strong and weak and gravitational and such forces and all that. If they were created, there is a creator. If they were not created and there is no creator, where did they come from, or if they were there always, where is "there", to get quite philosophical.

Then take a step in, and say ok, you've proven God exists. But what does God do? You've only "proven" that God created the world, but what can you offer that God has done in my lifetime that is empriically provable? Is God at all empirical?

I posit otherwise: I would say that God is a common "genetic" belief among mankind, whether God exists or not, there will always be people who need God in there lives or see God in the world. That is, God is a human need, irrespective of anything that God "does".

As to the story, given that nothing can prove God exists or acts, that story does a good job of saying "maybe".