Hate Mail

“Before you say that you are an atheist or whatever i can prove that god exists.”
The files of Chantal

Her letters are in yellow, whilst mine are in black & white.

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Subject: My sister (Chantal)

Hey there Bob,
My sister Chantal just divulged that she was talking to you about her logical circumlocutions about God. I read through your correspondence and I just had to contact you. I hope you don't mind. Anyway, just ignore her. She's being a booger. She is only 14 and still too young to be brave enough to accept the idea of atheism. She'll get there.

Her argument, of course, is totally useless, as you yourself point out. She's, in effect, saying that anything I can think of - vast purple jackrabbits capable of shitting out suns, for instance - would be more powerful if they existed than if they didn't (this is true). So what? Where is the actual, real-world evidence that these monstrosities exist anywhere outside my tiny mind? Luckily, we don't have such evidence, so we can safely reject the hypothesis of their existence.

Chantal is creating two creations she has no real-life evidence of: a god which doesn't exist and a god which does exist. She then says that on her little scale of power, the one existant one is the more powerful. Great! So what? Sure, they are two separate abstract concepts. But "part of the concept is a requirement that it exists" is NOT the same as "the concept exists". Duh. That's like expecting kids playing in the street saying "and then a space-ship came, for real" to cause an actual space-ship to appear over the suburban horizon.

That she thinks this sort of armchair, non-observational way of determining what is and isn't true about the real world is still valid, we need to tell her that Aristotle left town some years ago.

I apologize for her, anyway. She'll get older. Our parents let her wrestle with this sort of insane philosophy on her own because I guess she's smart enough to untangle it by herself one day soon.

Keep it real, Bob! Love your site...
Tim

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Hi Bob,

Even though it's been about 25 years since I took Philosophy 101, I thought Chantal's argument sounded familiar. Please forgive the redundancy if this has been pointed out to you before, or if the Chantal thread is so out of date as to not admit to comment.

Many capable philosophers have fallen into the trap of defining God into existence. I think the emotional need for God is so strong (and, in fact, the assumption that there is such an entity is a fundemental axiom for them) that once they have conquered more tractable issues, they bend their rules to support an argument: Wikipedia

As you can see from that list, even such mathematical powerhouses as Descartes and Leibnitz resorted to circular logic when it came to this question. I was especially disappointed with Descartes, who went from the essential brilliance of "I think, therefore I am" to "I can imagine God, so he must exists" in a few short pages.

I'm enjoying your site. Thank you.

...John Trindle

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Subject: been awhile

Hey Bob,

Just wanted to wish you a happy post-Thanksgiving and all. You may have just been facetious, but it seems in that last page of hatemail (Chantal) you've started to question yourself and what you do. Even if you meant it to be humorous, I still had a bit of a dark feeling on that last reply you wrote. That said, it would be remiss of me not to let you know that I (and I'm sure countless others) genuinely eagerly look forward to every update you make to the website and you've given me a great venting outlet in light of stupidity I see elsewhere, like here:


Anyways, if you ever decide to [heaven forbid!] cease managing the complaint department (and publish the book, syndicate your comics, etc) I want you to know that you and the work you do are greatly appreciated.

Also, I appreciate the artwork you've done for me, they are the most cherished treasures in my house.

Julius


Broken Image Photography

Wow, that comic is kind of amazing.

And I have to admit, you weren't imagining anything. I was seriously feeling that way, but it's mainly because audience participation has dropped to an all time low, and since the cold has set in here in New York my creativity level has sunk. The site is definitely not going away anytime soon but I'm completely baffled by how to jumpstart it again. I've already outlasted the typical lifespan of a site like mine. We'll see. It may just take warm weather to return, or an upswing in the economy to make everything better.

I appreciate the email. What I need is to get people writing about the site again, posting it on blogs or just spreading the interest around on their own.

Anyhow, I'm alright. Just a case of writer's block. It's expected... and temporary.

Thanks Jules.
Bob

U better corect this misktae or youll be sorry come judgemtn day

Subject: I think u make a mikstake

i foudn yuor website and there aer pictures of Jesus Christ on ther and you can actually dres shim up !!! U better corect this misktae or youll be sorry come judgemtn day

God bless yuo
Chantal

You need to work on this tick you've got where you're typing the last letter of your words before the second to last letter. Something as simple as switching places with just those two letters really makes your letters sound like you're writing me from Dunceville wearing a town-issued cone shaped hat and everything!

Just slow down a little when you're typing and you'll raise your perceived IQ 40 points!
I realize there's a chance you're only plagued with this glitch when you're grinding out angry complaint letters to nonbelievers on the web, so maybe just take a deep breath and count to twenty before those rants. That's what I do.

Don't thank me. My advice is free. :)

Bob

“before you say that you are an atheist or whatever i can prove that god exists”

hi bob. thanks for replying like that. ok i see what youre saying about my typing lol. and I really didnt think i would get to upset but i guess I did huh. i guess i'm like - who would want to stand in front of Jesus Christ on his great white throne on jugdement day and explain to him why you dressed him up like a pansy or satan?? i know I wouldn't so just quit it.and before you say that you are an atheist or whatever i can prove that god exists

chantal :-)

Fantastic. Proof is all I've been waiting for all these many years. I can't wait to hear it. You're about to change a life.

I won't waste any more time typing. Let's have it.

Bob

here is the proof. god, if he exists...

alright. well im guessing your an atheist because otherwise why would i be changing a life lol. also im guessing that you have faith that logic exists and always has existed (if not, you need to argue for the creation of logic at some stage). my proof shows that as soon as logic exists, god exists which also accounts for the eternity of god.

now one last thing. i am certain that if i was presented a proof of the nonexistence of god i would laugh at it and find it totally false as a first reaction because i assume it to be false. however it would be wrong for me to dismiss it simply becaus it seems wrong at first glance. if you put high trust in logic, you wil agree that working through the logic is the only reasonable way to assess the validiyt of the argument.,

here is the proof. god, if he exists, is the most perfect of all possible beings. this means that for any attribute you care to mention, god would have to have the best possible version of this attribute. (this gives you all-powerful, all-good and so on). some attributes are on a continuum from totally negative to totally positive, like power ranges from totally impotent to totally omnipotent. in this case, god, if he exists, attains the maximum value on this scale. other attributes are either-or properties like "can god know this? yes/no" to which the answer would always have to be yes because if not, god would not be the perfect being he has to be. now, since existence itself is an attribute and "to exist" is more perfect than "not to exist", god, being the maximally prefect being, must exist.

Chantal

Yes, well that is unless he doesn't exist.

Your theory's been debunked already.

Bob

“'this theory is false because others have told me its false' correct me if i'm wrong but isn't that the kind of thinking you dont like in believers?”

thats hardly being logical bob. "this theory is false because others have told me its false" correct me if i'm wrong but isn't that the kind of thinking you dont like in believers?

we can agree that logic exist. what i am claiming is that if logic exists, a most powerful being also exists because logic (and logic alone) allows us to rank abstract concepts in order of power. since the property of existence entails having more power than the property of non-existence, any concept at the top of this list would have to contain the property of existence (as well as being all-powerful in all other respects.) Call this top concept God, and we're done lol.

So you say "well if God does not exist, this does not apply". But God or no God, such a ranking of abstract entities is perfectly possible, and God would be ranked somewhere in this list somewhere, since God as an abstract entity obviously exists (we're talking about it). If God did not exist, he would probably be ranked below everything which does exist. So just rinse and repeat, take the top member of this new list. This entity has the property of existing along with being all-powerful. what should we call this entity? God-2? Fine by me. You can deny God-2 as well if you like and relegate him to the lower half of the list, but there is always a top entity and this top entity always has the property of existence, so God-3. i think you'll run out of patience before i run out of numbers lol...

debunk this if you can, bob, but don't just say its already been done and you dont need to do any work. thats intellectually dishonest.

Chantal

Holy crap! You're right!

PRAISE ALLAH!!!

Bob

“Call a true statement about God "A". If "A" were simply "God exists" then "A" contains no new information as this can be logically deduced. As God chooses not to be invisible to human reasoning...”

Well obviously you can't conclude the nature of god directly from this argument. (setting aside that Allah is the same god as in judaism and christianity at least in the narrative sense). alll it shows is that the existence of logic leads to the existence of an all-powerful entity.to reject this you need to refute the logic or reject that logic exists at all.

on to the next part of the arguement, then. when i say God in this argument I mean the one born of logic, not any particualr God. Since God exists and is allpowerful, God is capable of allowing humans to understand logic or to not understand logic. (again, if he couldn't, then the God which could is a conceivable abstract entity higher up the ladder of power, which is impossible since God is by definition the highest). Either we stumbled upon logic on our own or God gave it to us. in either case, god choosing to allow our continued use of logic means that god is allowing us to know about his existence. He could, if he wanted, strike us blind to him at any moment, but he doesn't. this means that god is either unaware of our existence or choosing not to blind us. since god has the power to know everything, the first option is impossible, so the second option must hold.

insofar that god allows us to know about him, it means that god allows us the power to know whether a particular statement about him is true or false. whoever writes holy texts is doing one of two things: he is either writing something true or something false. If every holy book written by man were false, it would be the same as if god was blinding us about him, which he chooses not to. thus, at least one holy text written by man must be true, at least in part. Call a true statement about God "A". If "A" were simply "God exists" then "A" contains no new information as this can be logically deduced. As God chooses not to be invisible to human reasoning, "A" must therefore contain more information about God. thus, God has in some way manifested knowledge about him in the human world.

Are you with me so far? :-)

Chantal

Wow, you are seriously like a word-scientist. Do you mind me asking what you do for a living?

Bob

just a high school student.

just a high school student. just like thinking, that's all. You draw for a living, right? that's cool ^_^

Chantal

You're just in high school?? I swear I thought you were going to say you were a professor of theology or a philosophy major or something.

Yes, I draw, which is why I can't keep up with all the brainiac stuff you're throwin' at me. Too many big words! Haha!

Bob

In short, i argued that a most powerful entity exists. I then argued that this being knows that we're here and that we're able to logically deduce "him"...

i certainly dont mean to overpower you with words. i'm happy to explain any step I make if i'm not being clear enough.
i took the logical approach because you seem to enjoy that approach the best. in any case, i agree that blind faith gets you nowhere from the perspective of argument. it is however a highly potent force in converting normal people, in particular those who has an emotional need for their faith to be true. but since wanting something doesn't make it true, its better to just go with logic.

In short, i argued that a most powerful entity exists. I then argued that this being knows that we're here and that we're able to logically deduce "him". That "he" accepts that we are able to know "him" means that not all parts of all religious texts can be false because then we would not know "him". This is my argument for the logical nessecity of true revelation by "him", logically following from the fact that we, as creatures, can employ logic and thus we know "he" is there,which "he" knows and accepts by not removing this logic from us.

Phew. it doesn't really lend itself to compression much,this argument lol.

I draw too btw. Well I paint, mainly.
Chantal

Yes, but beginning with your first argument you basically stated if God were to exist he'd have every ultimate power to do anything perfectly, one of which would be existing, because existence is obviously more perfect than nonexistence.

That's your first argument in a nutshell, right?

Bob

“i just line all abstract concepts, real or not, up according to the power they posses, define it quantitatively as the total mass of atoms in the real world these concepts...

No i dont set out with the supposition of existence. i just line all abstract concepts, real or not, up according to the power they posses (define it quantitatively as the total mass of atoms in the real world these concepts can cause to move, or the amount of information measured in bits the concept can generate.)

Now, concepts for things that do not exist have little power (not always zero, since the concept of Santa causes the atoms in children's writing hands to move once a year, for example), whereas a real concept such as "gravity" has huge power in terms of atoms moving, but almost no power in terms of information generation.

so, go ahead and sort all abstract concepts into a list like that. There's going to be a top member of this list no matter what you do, and this entity will have the maximum amount of power in the real world. What is at the top of this list, according to you?

Chantal

[It was at this point I received an email from Chantal's brother, posted in the top left sidebar]

Many many years ago, back when I first started this site I made a promise to myself. I promised myself if ever there came a time when the last remaining believers left standing to defend themselves were only daydreaming 14 year old little girls, I would begrudgingly declare myself the victor, cease managing my complaint department and retreat to the corner of the room to sulk. It seems that day has finally arrived.

Part of me thought I could take it and go on and on and on with a big fake smile on my face tip-tapping away on my keypad like a happy moron in his oyster world. But these emails with the assignment to sort out every make-believe abstract concept defined in order by quantitative real-world atom mass finally did it. I'm done. I've hit the absolute lowest of armchair philosophy and the last morsel of my dignity has to be scraped from the bottom of the barrel just to get me out of this chair. I've reached the ultimate low. It's time for me to reconsider the whole point of everything I do here.

Chantal, you go on believing in everything. I forget how one of the best parts of being a child is believing in everything. Who am I to say your imagination should have any limits just yet? You're absolutely right. If something is declared perfect in every way then obviously it must exist because existing is included in perfection. Now run, run RUN into your open field of unicorns and rainbows and dancing fairies on polka-dot mushroom tops. They're all for real, lined up in a row from most plausible to least, and they're all just as huggable and lovable as your neighbor's dog. Yes, dreams do come true, Chantal. Never let anyone ever tell you different, especially your brother! Because you're right and he's wrong. You can tell him Normal Bob said so.

Love and the sweetest of dreams to all the children of the world.
Bob

 

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