|Hey! I can almost see a wood through these trees!|
Think of a number, any number. Don't tell me.... (Keep it small to make it easy for yourself in a moment)
Now add 10 to the answer.
Now halve the result.
And take away the number you first thought of.
Now, you're probably wondering how I know the result was 5. (If it's not, go back and check your math because you've made a mistake.)
You see the trick here is to be in control of your thoughts. I told you what to think and what to do, so I controlled your conclusion. In fact I started with the answer and worked back from there.
When religious apologists and theologians try to construct a seemingly logical argument for their particular god - any god, it works for them all - they start off with the conclusion that their god exists and work backwards from there.
They then construct an argument about, say, the origin of the universe, or life on earth, or human morals, or the laws of physics - almost anything will do but if it's something really hard which only people who've bothered to learn about will understand, so much the better because that makes it easier to bamboozle you - and include their god in the explanation.
Then they tell you this is the only way to explain whatever it is, and, because their explanation has their god in it, it must prove their god exists. It's called circular reasoning - a logical fallacy - but apologists normally use these tricks.
But, as dear old William of Occam explained, unless a step adds anything essential to an argument it should be pared away with his trusty razor, because the chances are that the least complicated argument is the one most likely to be true. So, fitting a god somewhere in an explanation simply because you want it to be there adds nothing to the explanation and just complicates it unnecessarily. In fact, it adds an almost infinitely complicated step and turns what may well have been a perfectly satisfactory, uncomplicated one into an infinitely complex one.
Of course, religious apologists and theologians dance around the fact that any explanation with a god in it needs to explain the god - what it does, how it did it, where it came from and, most importantly, why the explanation won't work without it.
There's the explanation. It has my god in it. QED. My god exists (and if you can't understand my very clever argument, you're too stupid to - isn't that right very clever audience? [Applause]). Copies of my books are available in the foyer.
Nice work if you can get it.
Of course, their explanation is no different in principle from drawing a picture of a god on a piece of paper and then telling you the picture proves the god exists. But you'd never fall for that one would you... unless the 'picture' is drawn in words in a book.
If only they would take away the god they first thought of they, and you, would see that the answer is zero. They haven't proved a god exists; they've only proved they can fit a god into their explanation... and fool people with it.
By the way, if you're still wondering how I knew what you were thinking, the answer is always half the number you told them to add halfway through the trick. What they start with is irrelevant. I didn't know what you were thinking. I made you think what I was thinking. I could just have told you to divide 10 by 2 but you'd have seen through that trick. See if you can spot these tricks the next time you see a religious apologist
Do you want to buy a bridge? I have a photograph of it to prove it's mine.