A few days ago I witnessed a – let’s be charitable – ‘attempt’ to prove the existence god. It’s central tenet went like this
You can only know anything if you know everything. But somebody who knows everything can tell you what’s true, and then you know that.
From this eventually we derive that you
- can only know what an all-knowing God tells you
- since you do know something, a God must have told you whatever you know
- hence God exists.
At first I thought it was a joke – but it turns out to be the central idea of fundamental christian apologist Eric Hovind (son of ‘Dr. Dino’ Kent Hovind, scientific hyperfail – for some entertainment watch Phil Mason aka Thunderf00t’s deconstruction of Hovind Sr.’s theories – or here, here and here).
The logic behind Hovdind Jr.’s ‘thesis’, unfortunately, befits his lineage.
In logic terms it assumes two premises:
- ‘you don’t know anything unless you know everything’, and
- ‘someone who knows everything can tell you something that is true, and then you would would know that something.’
Unfortunately, this kindergarden-level attempt at proof presupposes two (rather important) additional items: God exists, and God knows everything. From this it is then ‘proven’ that only whatever God tells you can be true, and since you know something to be true, God exists.
Of course it follows that God exists if you first assume that he exists.
But even if we allowed for the silent presuppositions to be true (we now assume that God exists), this tragically inept line of reasoning still doesn’t work. First, the second premise is a direct contradiction to the first – once God tells you something, you can know something without knowing everything.
But again, we’ll let that slide. The logic still doesn’t hold water:
The problem with the second premise is exactly the problem every religion has with truth. We’ll walk through this one step by step:
Let’s assume you don’t know everything. By definition you therefore know nothing. Now an omniscient god comes along and tells you: ‘X is true’. Can we now say that you know that ‘X is true’?
By ‘Hovind Logic’: Yes. By rational thought: No.
Why not? God could have lied. So even though the omniscient being could tell you the truth, you can’t be sure. Assertions do not replace proof. Assumptions aren’t proof. It’s one of the elemental aspects of Logic, and Hovind has yet to master that.
It’s almost impossible to believe that a grown man would spout this kind of nonsense just to prove the existence of his god. If anything, it makes it his god appear even less likely to exist than before.
On the other hand, it does make it easy to believe that Eric Hovind really doesn’t know anything. And it makes it obvious that his God hasn’t yet spoken to Eric. Or he’s is pulling a cruel joke on him