Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The Tale of the Invisible, Intangible, Ill-Defined, Preconceived Burglar
You just gotta laugh!
Over at EvangelicalRealism, the Deacon has once again iterated his ‘Undeniable Fact’; namely, that God Does Not Show Up In Real Life. And once again, the resident theistic obscurantist has countered with the same old sophistic epistemological obfuscation-
Let’s say God did show up. How would we know it was God? Could be a neurological misfire. Could be an alien. Could be Satan appearing as God, again. Could be a Sudden Consciousness Projection Field. Right? Don’t you think it’s a bit unfair to ask for evidence that you’ve demonstrated consistent unwillingness to previously accept in the context of miracles?
Is God alive and active in the real world, or is He simply part of the communal imagination? Is there actual evidence for His existence, or is God just an illusive overlay grafted onto basic human perceptions? I thought I’d present a little allegorical scenario meant to explore these questions...
Mrs. Credulous has just returned home from a weeklong vacation to the Holy Lands. Within minutes, she calls 911 and claims that her home was broken into while she was away. Soon, Detective Scoffer arrives on the scene.
Mrs. Credulous: Do come in, Detective. Oh, it’s horrible! Just horrible! I feel so violated!
Detective Scoffer: Please try to remain calm, ma'am. Now, describe the events leading up to your suspicions.
Mrs. Credulous: It’s more than mere suspicion, Detective. Someone has been in my home! I could feel it the moment I unlocked the door and entered the house! The intruder’s presence was all around me, palpable as my own heartbeat.
Detective Scoffer: You say the door was locked when you arrived home. Have you noticed any signs of forced entry?
Mrs. Credulous: No, all the windows and doors were locked and secure.
Detective Scoffer: Hm, that’s a puzzler. Tell me, is anything missing? Cash, jewelry, appliances, or any other personal possessions?
Mrs. Credulous: Well, not that I can tell. But you know, I can’t keep track of everything I own. I’m sure there are many things missing that I’m just not aware of.
Detective Scoffer: But nothing you can definitely itemize?
Mrs. Credulous: I told you, there are many, many things in my house, far too many things for me to discover any one thing’s absence. Just take my word for it...some things are missing.
Detective Scoffer: Uh, ok then. Moving on, was there any sign of general disorder. You know, drawers pulled out, clothing thrown around, things out of place?
Mrs. Credulous: Well OBVIOUSLY the malicious intruder threw a party for all his criminal friends. The house was a complete wreck!
Detective Scoffer: *looks around* Uh, ma'am, how did you manage to clean up so fast? Didn’t you say you called in your complaint minutes after you arrived home?
Mrs. Credulous: Yes, that’s right. OBVIOUSLY they must have cleaned up after themselves AFTER they destroyed my home, BEFORE they fled the scene.
Detective Scoffer: And what leads you to believe that this is the case, ma'am?
Mrs. Credulous: Because that’s what criminals DO, Detective. Geez, you’re not very bright, are you?
Detective Scoffer: Ma'am, please refrain from addressing me in that tone.
Mrs. Credulous: Hey, don’t attack ME. I’m the victim here, jerk.
Detective Scoffer: *sighs* Alright, ma'am. I noticed you have several security cameras placed in various spots around your home. Have you checked the tapes? Do they in any way support your allegations?
Mrs. Credulous: Gawd, Detective; you certainly are thickheaded, aren’t you? We’re talking about a Master Criminal here. Certainly he had ways of avoiding the cameras.
Detective Scoffer: And the perimeter alarm system? And the motion sensors inside?
Mrs. Credulous: How did you reach the rank of Detective, sir? By peeing your pants? There are several plausible explanations. Maybe the guy was an expert in alarm dismantlement. Or maybe he was from the future, and had access to advance technology. Or maybe he was a Scientologist, and was ‘clear’ to all the equipment. Or maybe an alternate universe temporarily superimposed itself over this one. Or maybe we’ve both gone deaf, and the alarm is sounding even as we speak. Or maybe that’s the night that the lights went out in Georgia. Or maybe the force was with him. Or maybe two’s company, but three’s a crowd.
Detective Scoffer: Ma'am, none of those reasons make a hell of a lot of sense.
Mrs. Credulous: Oh, so now you’re SWEARING at me, you prick? Ok, know-it-all, answer me this. In the absence of any conclusive evidence that I’ve been burgled, but ALSO in the absence of any conclusive evidence that I’ve NOT been burgled, shouldn’t we just be agnostic about the whole thing, and admit that I’ve probably been burgled?
Detective Scoffer: Huh?
Mrs. Credulous: Aha! Where’s Mr. Rational Detective now? I know what you want! You want broken windows, and receipts for stolen goods, and videotape, and actual SIGNS of an intruder. Oh, what an evil and adulterous police department that seeks for signs! I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to leave, Detective Scoffer. You just go on with that arrogant attitude of requiring evidence, and see where that gets you! Meanwhile, I guess I’ll just have to do your work for you, won’t I? It shouldn’t be too hard; I’ve already got lots of data in my head to go on. I’ll have that burglar before you know it! Or at least, I’ll have him kinda/sorta pictured in my head, and that’s all anybody really needs to close a case, right? Good day, Detective Moron. Good luck catching the REAL criminals out there!
And now, a multiple choice question. At the bottom of Detective Scoffer’s report of the incident, which box should he check?
 Case closed
 Case remains open pending further evidence
 Case remains open pending ANY evidence
 Complainant batshit crazy
Posted by metamorphhh at 11:24 AM