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Dialogue with an atheist - Part 10 - The Invisible hand
Dialogue with an atheist - Part 10 - The Invisible hand.
by P.K.Odendaal - January 2013
GLC:Hi Atheist, care for a curved ball from
GLC:Have you heard of the Invisible Hand?
GLC:It is quite a well known and basic
principle in Economics.
Atheist:Why do you want to tell me? I don't like
GLC:Because it demonstrates quite clearly
the presence of God in inanimate things, of which Economics is an excellent
example. We can then also extrapolate this phenomenon throughout the Universe.
Atheist:Then tell me.
GLC:It is a term coined by economist Adam
Smith in his 1776 book "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the
Wealth of Nations". In his book he states:
individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as
great as he can. He generally neither intends to promote the public interest,
nor knows how much he is promoting it ... He intends only his own gain, and he
is in this, as in many other cases, led by an
invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is
it always the worse for society that it was no part of his intention. By
pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more
effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much
good done by those who affected to trade for the public good."
Thus, the invisible hand is
essentially a natural phenomenon that guides free markets and capitalism
through competition for scarce resources.
GLC:Can't you see that there is order in the
universe even in places where one does not expect it? In a man-made environment
Atheist:I do not believe it.
GLC:Then you might believe in a person
Atheist:I have heard of him.
GLC:He is the flightest on foot of anyone that
you will ever come across, although he is as elusive as God is. He is born
anywhere, anytime and he exists in the most unexpected places. As soon as he is
born, he starts to travel the world over - almost at the speed of light. He is
born from the evil minds of mankind and some people say that he does not exist,
but still he wreaks havoc as far as he goes. His surname is Slander. Some
people who do not believe in the Devil, even think that he is the devil
Atheist:But it is not a person and he does not exist
at all. He is just a figure of speech ... mmm ... maybe more than that. Let me
think ... no, he is more than that, he is real, but his form is as changing as
the weather, and nobody can see him, and he works behind the scenes.
GLC:So are you then also a Gossip atheist as
well? Our description above is much like a description of God, except the evil
Atheist:Oh, come on!
GLC:Maybe I can interest you in a phenomenon
GLC:What do you think about a big corporate
or other company, say like Google or General Motors? Do you think it is an
organism that lives, like I do?
Atheist:It cannot live at all. It is like the
aeroplane you spoke of previously. You cannot talk to it or say incantations to
GLC:If that was the case, all companies
would have been the same, but they are not. So, to what do you attribute the
culture of a company?
Atheist:It is again, like my brain. The culture of a
company is the collective functions of its employees and management, which are
GLC:So, now, let's say that one employee leaves
the company. Will it change the cultural of that company?
Atheist:Of course not. It is the combined properties
of all its employees which give a company its culture.
GLC:But, I do not understand how you can add
up meta-physical properties like emotion, belief systems and procedures. These
are all non-physical things, and you know one can only add up physical things.
How would you interpret such an answer if you ever get it?
Atheist:You are trying to trick me again. I will not
fall for that. I do not think about meta-physical things, because they do not
GLC:But, if you do not think, you do not
exist. Descartes is widely believed, probably also by yourself. He said:
"I think, therefore I am". So surely you must doubt your existence.
Atheist:Of course I doubt my existence - and needless
to say, that of God. I believe in Zeno who said that reality is one, immutable
and unchanging thing; all plurality, change and motion are mere illusions of
the senses. Movement is inherently impossible. It is only the mind which is
conscious of it.
GLC:And all the while I was tricked by you
into thinking that I am talking to a human being. But I understand you argument
quite well. If there is not a God, then you do not exist, because God created
everything which exists. The only other alternative, that of you creating
yourself is quite absurd and too ghastly to contemplate. So then I must presume
that you do not exist, as you purport to pretend. Is that also why you will not
exist in the afterlife, having not existed here in real life?
Atheist:There is nothing like real life or like
afterlife. Neither exists in reality. We only exist in our consciousness, and
once we lose that, we are nothing.
GLC:So you at least admit that you have
consciousness. May I ask where you got that from? Maybe you borrowed it from
your Aunt Sally.
Atheist:But everybody has a consciousness of itself.
We just have it, whether we like it or not. And who is my Aunt Sally?
GLC:Oh, she is just a fictitious person - a
hypothetical, for purposes of our argument. But obviously you also cannot
believe in her either.
So you use the same argument for
the existence of your consciousness as your own existence. It just is. I think
it is generally accepted by your kind that there is no God and that everything
was created by a big explosion called the Big Bang. At the time of the Big Bang
there was no material things, which I find hard (for you) to believe, because
you only believe in material things. However, there was only gravity, the electro-magnetic
force and the weak and strong nuclear forces.
Atheist:Yes I believe that. It has been proved by
scientists, and you know scientists cannot make mistakes.
GLC:So, tell me where love, doubt, grief,
emotion, hate and life come from. I am quite sure the Big bang and these
above-mentioned forces could not have generate these feelings.
Atheist:It came from an evolution of the human body,
having, after years in its fight for survival, acquired those traits to enhance
its chances of survival.
GLC:I find that quite hard to believe. The
single most important aspect for survival is life, and I am quite sure, given
that your victims had enough time and development, they would, after zillions
of years, have developed the faculty of eternal life, having conquered death through
evolving their DNA and RNA to overcome that impediment. After all, survival was
their main instinct.
But let me return to this playing
field. I see you have quite a few holes here on the goal line. Why is that?
Atheist:Very simple. That is for moving the goal
posts. It is quite boring to keep them in the same place.
GLC:But, you must know that these holes are
nothing. There is nothing in them. They are like a hosepipe, without the pipe.
Just a long hole. But, I suppose such a proposition is vulgar to your sense of
And I suppose the reason why you
have only a fractional part of a real playing field, is because it makes life
much simpler. Like disregarding meta-physics, emotion, life and love. Are you
sure you are happy to do mathematics with only one operator. You have
constrained your options of experiencing a real game by taking away all the
other operators (players) like plus, multiply and divide. And you are now left
with only a minus sign. Is that why atheists are so negative? How do you do all
the sums with only one operator? I have always thought that the bigotry of
atheists was self-induced, but now I see that they have no other option. Like
one of them, who places advertisements on a bus in London to warn people that
there is no God. How would any atheist in its right mind warn people against
something which does not exist? That is bigotry taken to new extremes, if you
And as for myself - I like to
think about anything, whether it exists or not. George Bernard Shaw said it so
see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say,
It seems to me that you are one
hundred per cent sure that there is no God. If you had had any doubts - say
only one per cent doubt - then you would certainly have hedged your bets. Just
have made that tiny concession in your own mind that one day you might turn out
to be wrong. Wouldn't that be disastrous?
Atheist:I can't say
GLC:I see we will never agree and you will
never believe. And that is the point I wish to make. Once you have passed the
threshold of vain knowledge, having eaten too much of the Tree of Knowledge
which stands in Eden still, there is no turning back. I refer you to my
articles on philosophy and specifically to the Sunset Limited. If the sun has
set for you, it will never rise again, and so won't you.
Sorry ... that is not strictly
correct. Scripture says that:
20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell
delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man
according to their works. v:14And death
and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. v:15And whosoever was not found written in the
book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Note : I have written this
series on atheism for Christians to digest and use in their everyday life when
coming inot contact with unbelievers and atheists. The arguments are potent and
indubitable, no matter how you look at it. To prove atheism is right is ten
times harder than the relatively simple arguments I had to use. I have not seen
one credible argument in their favour.
It was never my intention
to redicule atheists or to convince them of something contrary to their
beliefs. And this is the great beauty of free will to me. We have each been
given this precious gift to allow us to believe what we might.