God's existence analogy with fish
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05-11-2016, 12:10 AM
RE: God's existence analogy with fish
(04-11-2016 02:12 AM)Jokurix Wrote:  So, during a classroom discussion about God's existence, the teacher just threw this in the air:

There are 2 fish in a river, one small and the other big, just swimming. The small fish asks, "is this all there is to life? a river?" to which the bigger fish responds "No. Listen, you may be in a river right now, but there's an ocean out there."

The small fish questions his remark and goes "How can there be an ocean? I have never seen it." and the big fish responds again "But there is an ocean, a giant body of this water we're swimming in. But it's not because you can't see it that it doesn't exist."

Eventually, the two fish arrive at the ocean and accept its existence.

---

This is clearly an analogy defending "The fact that you can't see it doesn't mean it exists", in this case neither of the fish saw the ocean but it ended up existing.

What do you think about this analogy?

Sounds like an argument FOR atheism to me.

And outrageous claim was made. Acceptance was only achieved upon proof of said outrageous claim.

Theist's wanna claim God? Ok sure. Prove it.

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05-11-2016, 04:46 AM
RE: God's existence analogy with fish
(04-11-2016 02:12 AM)Jokurix Wrote:  So, during a classroom discussion about God's existence, the teacher just threw this in the air:

There are 2 fish in a river, one small and the other big, just swimming. The small fish asks, "is this all there is to life? a river?" to which the bigger fish responds "No. Listen, you may be in a river right now, but there's an ocean out there."

The small fish questions his remark and goes "How can there be an ocean? I have never seen it." and the big fish responds again "But there is an ocean, a giant body of this water we're swimming in. But it's not because you can't see it that it doesn't exist."

Eventually, the two fish arrive at the ocean and accept its existence.

---

This is clearly an analogy defending "The fact that you can't see it doesn't mean it exists", in this case neither of the fish saw the ocean but it ended up existing.

What do you think about this analogy?

And then the little fish said, "What is there outside this ocean?".
And the bigger fish said, "There is a heaven or a hell".
The big fish was blowing in out of his ass.

When I shake my ignore file, I can hear them buzzing!

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05-11-2016, 05:15 AM (This post was last modified: 05-11-2016 05:40 AM by Reltzik.)
RE: God's existence analogy with fish
(04-11-2016 02:12 AM)Jokurix Wrote:  So, during a classroom discussion about God's existence, the teacher just threw this in the air:

There are 2 fish in a river, one small and the other big, just swimming. The small fish asks, "is this all there is to life? a river?" to which the bigger fish responds "No. Listen, you may be in a river right now, but there's an ocean out there."

The small fish questions his remark and goes "How can there be an ocean? I have never seen it." and the big fish responds again "But there is an ocean, a giant body of this water we're swimming in. But it's not because you can't see it that it doesn't exist."

Eventually, the two fish arrive at the ocean and accept its existence.

---

This is clearly an analogy defending "The fact that you can't see it doesn't mean it exists", in this case neither of the fish saw the ocean but it ended up existing.

What do you think about this analogy?

This analogy would be closer to the Abrahamic religions, if the ocean contained a malevolent shark, which only consumed fish that didn't believe in the ocean prior to seeing it.

Oh, and if the fish remained conscious and in agony for an eternity of digestion.

And if the believer-fish thought this was a good thing and was gratified to see its doubting companion subjected to this fate.

Here's a counter-metaphor.

-----------------------------------------

Two sheep have been moved into a new pasture and are having a discussion while the larger flock moves slowly along grazing.

"This is a good pasture," says one. "The grass is tasty and the sun is nice and warm and the sheep dog isn't anywhere around. I'm enjoying myself."

"Don't bother," says the other one. "This might SEEM like a good pasture, but it's nothing compared to the Pasture Beyond The Fence. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, and tastier, with no nettles. There is never a sheep dog. The water is always cool and fresh from a perfect stream and no gate will separate us from the ewes any more."

"Where is this pasture," says the first sheep. "I've never seen it, and I've never seen you wander off from the flock, so where could you have seen it?"

"Of course you can't see it," the second sheep says. "You just have to have faith. Besides, it stands to reason that there's a maximally great pasture out there somewhere."

"Okay, fine, I'll believe there's a best pasture. But how do you know about details like the stream and there being no nettles or sheep dog?"

"The shepherd told us."

"That's the weird two-legged sheep that whistles to call off the sheep dog and who carries that weird stick... crook? Yeah, carries a crook?"

"Right, The Crooked Shepherd. Anyhow, the Crooked Shepherd told us that if we're very good we will one day be taken to the Pasture Beyond the Fence, if we just endure being shorn over and over and over again and believe with all our hearts that it's waiting for us."

"You know, I don't think I've ever really seen him past the other sheep. Not for sure. I mean I catch glimpses of something that might be him, but I can never be certain. You've seen the Crooked Shepherd?"

"Well, no, but I've heard the other sheep talking about him. They say he's the one who keeps leading us to new pastures, and eventually he'll lead us to the Greatest Pasture, the one Beyond the Fence."

"Is he the same one who's always shearing us?"

"No, that one has the Chattering Razor, not the Crook. We must submit meekly to The Chattering One and be fleeced, over and over and over again, so we may eventually be led to the Pasture Beyond the Fence by The Crooked Shepherd."

"But why must we constantly be fleeced? I don't like The Chattering One. His Chattering Sessions make me uncomfortable. I don't like the Chattering at all. And he holds me in ways I don't like."

"I know. Still, we must submit."

"Why?"

"To test our faith. Those who have faith will be led to The Pasture Beyond the Fence."

"What does the Crooked Shepherd get out of it?"

"Nothing. He wants for nothing, so what could he get? The Crooked Shepherd is all-loving and would not lead us astray. He does it for our own good, not his. The Crooked Shepherd benefits not at all, save from the joy of seeing us in the Pasture Beyond the Fence."

"Well why doesn't he lead us there right now?"

"I don't know. His ways are not are ways. But you must have faith if you want a place in The Pasture Beyond the Fence."

".... you know? I do believe this. You have convinced me, Brother Sheep!"

"Hallelujah!"

".... this grass doesn't taste as good any more, now that I know there's something better for me. I'll eat it, but I can't wait to get to the Pasture Beyond the Fence."

"You and me both."

"... geez, this grass is AWFUL. The more I imagine The Pasture Beyond the Fence, the less I like this pasture here. ...Hey, what's this? The flock's going up a ramp now?"

"This is it! We must be going to The Pasture at last! Praise The Crooked Shepherd that you accepted the truth in time! Walk meekly into the hatch!"

Two hours later, two more packages of mutton are shrink-wrapped and sent on to the supermarket.

---------------------------------

The question isn't which of these metaphors (or many other possible metaphors besides) feel more real to us. Believing based on feelings rather than evidence is a trap. The real question is, what are the best and most reliable means for us to determine the truth? (Hint: It's not reasoning from metaphors.)
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05-11-2016, 03:45 PM
RE: God's existence analogy with fish
Damn, I loved that counter metaphor.

Thanks everybody for your replies, if you got some more counter-metaphors I'd be glad to hear them (and maybe transmit them back to my teacher!) because I seem to like them very much. Maybe a little shorter than that one, though.

Also, for the one asking for some details, the subject of the class is Religion. Yeah, I study in a catholic high school in Western Europe.
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06-11-2016, 02:23 AM
RE: God's existence analogy with fish
I love the amount of presupposition the fish metaphor requires... I've heard several versions of it, over the years, but it's always the same: "There Are Things Beyond What You Can See, Son, and Let Me Tell You All About Them".

The problem is that this storyteller knows that there is an ocean at the end of the river, while the fish do not. It's a bunk metaphor.

So what you really have in that original metaphor is two fish in a river, and one fish telling the other fish that there's a magical force field at the end of the river that lets fish who reach the end swim freely upward as high as they want to go, without a "roof" on the river, with no riverbanks or predators, and delicious worms that appear right in front of you and never have hooks in them.

Fish #2 says this with great confidence, because he saw the story spelled out in pebbles, written on the riverbed by fish that came many, many generations before (even though some of the pebbles have shifted or been buried over the many generations since, but the story is mostly-legible, and has been "repaired" by some very smart fish in the years between then and now), and that story assures all fish generations that follow that if they just swim the way the Alpha Fish of the School want them to swim, and they never spray their eggs unless the male fish have built a proper sand-nest for them (no rock ledges or underwater debris, ever!!), then they will someday be allowed to cross the force field and enter the Limitless River.

Fish #1 asks, "Do you have any proof of the Limitless River?"

#2: "Well, yes. The sacred pebbles. See for yourself."

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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06-11-2016, 09:16 PM
RE: God's existence analogy with fish
(05-11-2016 03:45 PM)Jokurix Wrote:  Damn, I loved that counter metaphor.

Thanks everybody for your replies, if you got some more counter-metaphors I'd be glad to hear them (and maybe transmit them back to my teacher!) because I seem to like them very much. Maybe a little shorter than that one, though.

Also, for the one asking for some details, the subject of the class is Religion. Yeah, I study in a catholic high school in Western Europe.

If you want a metaphor for your teacher and you go to a public school you could always try this one.

"Teaching God in the classroom is like slavery, both are against the constitution."

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06-11-2016, 10:06 PM
RE: God's existence analogy with fish
(06-11-2016 09:16 PM)earmuffs Wrote:  
(05-11-2016 03:45 PM)Jokurix Wrote:  Damn, I loved that counter metaphor.

Thanks everybody for your replies, if you got some more counter-metaphors I'd be glad to hear them (and maybe transmit them back to my teacher!) because I seem to like them very much. Maybe a little shorter than that one, though.

Also, for the one asking for some details, the subject of the class is Religion. Yeah, I study in a catholic high school in Western Europe.

If you want a metaphor for your teacher and you go to a public school you could always try this one.

"Teaching God in the classroom is like slavery, both are against the constitution."

Catholic school. Also, in Europe. Presumably either a private school or in part of Europe where Catholic schools can be public schools.
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