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Friday, July 25, 2008

A Coconutty Christian


Now that a week has passed since the Death Match, I thought I would take this time to comment on the responses to it and point out some of the things both atheists and Christians have said about it. I'll be responding to some criticisms, suggestions, corrections, counter-arguments, etc.

The Coconut Was Without its Husk

I have seen this several times. Here are a few of these comments, including two from Reddit:
The coconut he used already had it's husk removed, not really a fair comparison. -- thax

Exactly, the experiment lost all credibility for me once I saw the coconut had been husked. Doing that using only your hands and a rock is a lot harder than smashing the coconut, trust me, I've done it before. By the time I finally got the husk off I was sweating, bleeding, and filled with rage. -- CaptainJesusHood

I demand a retrial. This was completely unfair, since the coconut already had had its outer husk removed. -- Anonymous, in Disco Igno
I thought about this beforehand and had tried various locations to get the coconut. Sadly, though, only one location had any coconuts and they were without the husk. I decided to proceed anyway, because it in no way changed the basic criteria that Ray argued from. For those points, I considered the coconut with its husk (just as I considered its source as a tree instead of a store). The only two criteria the husk would have changed were my two criteria:
12. Is easy to open with just your body
Coconut: Impossible. Epic failure. G-. (+0)
Pineapple: I suppose you could smash it with your fist, but it's far from easy. D-. (+1)

13. Is easy to open using stuff found in nature (like rocks)
Coconut: Took me five minutes to get it opened/broken enough to eat. It wasn't easy. F-. (+0)
Pineapple: Took me four minutes to get it opened and expose all the fruit content to eat. It wasn't easy. D- (+1)
Even without its husk, it dismally failed on both these criteria with zero points.

With these points in mind, I still consider it a fair grading as Ray's ten basic points were assumed to have the husk. I will, however, conduct a rematch between the coconut and pineapple as soon as I can find one, as I'd hate to leave this result contested.

Blog Entries From Atheists

The coconut without husk comment was the only substantial criticism I received about the fruit-off. I originally conducted the experiment because Adrian Hayter objected to my use of the coconut during the first installment of The Theist Test. So, I will conduct it again with a coconut with a husk to be certain (along with some other new twists). We need to make sure we have the perfect counter-fruit for that bulletproof banana argument.

It did inspire a few blog entries concerning the death match (which happened to drive traffic up 2,000%), including in two of my favorite blogs:

Friendly Atheist
The Theist's Worst Nightmare?

The Atheist Blogger
It's Official! Pineapple Is the Theist's Worst Nightmare
What Is It With Theists and Fruit???


Blog Post at Debunking Atheists

When I first proposed The Theist Test at the Raytractors (which is what later inspired the death match), Lance Christian Johnson posted about how he envisioned Ray then using the coconut as another proof of God:
I think it could also be funny to have the parody Ray talk about things that are incredibly inconvenient and dangerous and still insist that it's evidence of special creation.

For instance, I imagine him with a coconut and making his case thusly:

"Here we have a nourishing fruit that grows up in a tree. While we human beings are definitely not the best climbers in the world, we're certainly not the worst. Imagine a zebra trying to climb a tree! He couldn't do it. However, God wants us to have the coconut, so he makes us, at the very least, 'okay' at climbing.

Of course, they also sometimes fall out of the tree, and statistically speaking, the odds of one hitting you and killing you are very small. If there wasn't a creator, don't you think those odds would be a lot higher? But no, he cares, so he keeps them low.

And all you need to open them is a simple machete. And those can be purchased at many hardware and sporting good stores around the country - all you have to do is check your local listings. Obviously, God wanted it to be convenient for us to eat these wonderful fruits and make pina coladas with them."
I wonder if he knew how right he would be. There is a blog, Debunking Atheists, which is so intellectually lousy that one would think it's an atheist parodying Ray's blog (he actually makes a comment stating that "allergies prove that we are in a fallen creation"). In the comments to Adrian's post, the author of Debunking Atheists commented and, surprise, he made a post in his blog about how coconuts prove God! I won't bother with an analysis of it, as Adrian Hayter has already gone through the trouble. I will point out Dan's comment to his own coconutty blog post, though:
God knew who the coconut was for coconut crabs and us! He gave us the brain to figure out seasons and stages of fruits. He knew we had the capacity to figure out fire, tools and to explore the universe. This is why we are just vicariously between two belts of the galaxy. If we were in the milky way's belt or cloud then we wouldn't be able to observe the vast universe. We need to thank God we are here instead of being mucked up in a cloud of gasses. Thanks Jesus!
This reminded me much of the zebra comment. Imagine the response to the argument about why space is uninhabitable...
Space was intelligently designed for us to explore. God gave us the brains to figure out how to build the ships to get there. The genius! What if it were simple to get to outer space? Zebras and coconut crabs could wander out there and die. It was intelligently designed, though, so that only we could get there and only when we had advanced far enough along to where we could survive there. Thanks Jesus!
The real point against the theist reponses to this, though, is that Ray made a very special argument about how ten points about the banana prove the Christian creator-god. Applying those same ten points to the coconut and pineapple fail miserably. You cannot open a coconut with your bare hands as you can a banana. Fail.

Clostridiophile, of course, points out the larger question about why, even if it were proof, it proves the Christian God instead of some other god. He says that Dan's above comment is not an argument and...
Here is my argument:

All this, but your God is replaced by a different god, with a different holy book, with a different message. How do you differentiate between the two? How can you determine whether you are on firm ground in your statement or just basically spewing your own opinion?
Perhaps the banana, coconut, and pineapple prove God and disprove all other gods?

1 comment:

Adrian Hayter said...

I reckon we should set up a website purely for the purpose of testing every single piece of fruit against Ray's criteria.

Just look at the amount of God's creation we have left...