Behind The Wizard’s Curtain

Anyone who claims that he knows absolutely that no cosmic intelligence exists is a fool, but this is not what atheism is actually about. Such a position ought more properly to be called adeism, since Deism is the belief in a god that does not intervene. What atheism denies is theism, the idea that the cosmic intelligence cares about you, listens to you, answers your prayers and so forth. Not because we have investigated every corner of the universe and failed to find such a god, hiding behind some quasar or other, but because the theistic proposition is simply too transparent a con. We can see the wires running behind the Wizard’s curtain. If Brown tells you that the cosmic intelligence, the creator of the universe, is prepared to listen to him and smite his enemy Jones – but can be relied upon not to listen to Jones asking him to smite Brown – then it is impossible to avoid hearing the playground cry of “My Dad can beat up your dad!” When someone approaches us on the street offering to sell us the Brooklyn Bridge, epistemological uncertainty as to whether he might, in some hidden dimension of mystical reality, actually own the Brooklyn Bridge may be honourable, but is also a waste of time. Millions of people, you may object, figuratively speaking purchase the deeds to the Brooklyn Bridge every day of the week. This is quite true, but why they do so is a psychological and not a cosmological question. 

Posted on March 26, 2009 at 21:38 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink

3 Responses

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  1. Written by James Beck
    on March 27, 2009 at 15:50

    You’ll have a better piece if you study how the Brooklyn Bridge con actually works.

  2. Written by Hugo Grinebiter
    on March 27, 2009 at 16:57

    So how does it? I thought that this was just a phrase left over from the 19th-century immigration…..

  3. Written by Urban Djin
    on March 27, 2009 at 17:48

    “I thought that this was just a phrase left over from the 19th-century immigration…..”

    It is, Hugo. I’m also curious what James meant.

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