Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Square Circle

I've been watching a lot of debates recently on YouTube between believers and non-believers. If I were to recommend only one channel it would be this guy: ProfMTH. His videos are very well produced and he is an extremely clear and entertaining speaker. Plus he gives patient and well thought-out replies to almost all the text comments on his videos. You can find other good channels by looking at what he has subscribed to as well.

In Prof's debates and elsewhere, believers (usually Christian apologists) have replies ready for almost any contradiction that is brought up. It's almost as amazing as the ability of seasoned Trekkies to retcon things like where the Klingon forehead bumps came from. Suddenly I realized that no contradiction could ever shake a believer's faith, because I too have the ability to explain away any contradiction as good as the best apologists. I will give it a go here with some classic contradictions that at first seem impossible to explain.

1. The square circle. How could a circle be a square? You see it is quite simple, sometimes the object is a circle and sometimes it's a square. It might depend on the time of day. Or maybe the original language "square" was translated from actually meant "circle." Here's my best explanation: the following looks like a circle, right?

But lets zoom in:

Aha! The circle is made of squares.

2. One equals two. Another easy one. Isn't it obvious that one coin has two sides? Or that one apple can be split into two halves?

3. Black is white. Well, white things are black if there is no light. Or a black object might appear to be white if it is smooth and the light reflects off it at a certain angle. Maybe the white object is black on the inside, or only half of it is black.

Can you think of a contradiction that can't be explained away? I guess the Bible, like Star Trek, really is completely free of any contradictions.


Anonymous said...

i'm not really sure what you mean there. Circle square? Black White? I happen to be a christian and none of this has to do with God. Are you trying to say God isn't all powerful if he can't do everything. Like a circle being a square at the same time. Well you're wrong their. God can't lie, steal, cheat, sin. Their are a lot of things he can't do. It doesn't matter if he can do anything. The bible says he can't tell a lie so I guess he can't do everything can he.

that atheist guy said...

I guess I wasn't clear in my post. I am referring to contradictions in the Bible. Christian apologists are very adept at explaining them away.

Here's one example:

So no, I wasn't trying to say that God can do anything.

WAR_ON_ERROR said...

That is tough. What it means is that you have to make a rather dynamic case to prove some very simple points. So you have to point out say 10 contradictions, they each have to have background attached to each of them (like cultural context and/or author's intent), make arguments to the better explanation on each independent case, and point out how ad hoc and improbable a supposed resolution is, and how by the time you give the book such lee way there's no way to tell an inerrant book from an errant one. Or...you can just justify one really really really really good. It's a lot of work and I haven't gotten around to doing my own version of it yet.

J. K. Jones said...

You are equivocating your definitions. The law of non-contradiction (A cannot be both A and Non-A at the same time and in the same relationship) is not violated by any of the three resolutions you have made above.

The square circle is a circle in one way and a square in another. One equals two in one way and not in another. Black is white in one way and not in another. There is a sense that each of the cases you bring up is logically true.

Clear thinking does lead to resolution to the supposed contradictions in the Bible. I have yet to find a true contradiction, and I have been reading and studying the Bible for over 30 years. Usually the laws of logic vindicate the Scriptures rather than condemn them.

J. K. Jones said...

Hey, TAG. You still out there?


J. K. Jones said...

Hey TAG, are you okay?

I hope nothing bad has happened.

that atheist guy said...

Hey, sorry. Yeah I'm out here, just busy with other things (nothing bad). I actually have a reply to your comment and one of your blog posts half typed and I never got around to finishing them.

To be honest I've been pretty burned out with atheist/religious stuff. I used to go to the local meetups here pretty regularly but I haven't been to one for many months now.

I might get back to the "atheist hobby" one of these days. I probably won't let the half typed replies go to waste.

Actually just typing this is "priming the pump" a bit so I might reply sooner than later.

Anyway, thanks for checking in. Your blog is still in my RSS feed.

Rose said...

I LOVE IT! It is so true. My brother is a die hard Christian. I am NOT. No matter what I say he has an explanation. I sickens me. You hit the nail on the head with this post!