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 me?
Atheist:   Why not?
GLC:        Have you heard of the Invisible Hand?
Atheist:   Why, no.
GLC:        It is quite a well known and basic principle in Economics.
Atheist:   Why do you want to tell me? I don't like economics.
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:
               "Every 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.
Atheist:   So what?
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 called Economics.
Atheist:   I do not believe it.
GLC:        Then you might believe in a person called Gossip.
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 himself.
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 part.
Atheist:   Oh, come on!
GLC:        Maybe I can interest you in a phenomenon called Culture.
Atheist:   Try.
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 it.
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 physical.
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 exist.
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 materialism.
               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 ask me.
               And as for myself - I like to think about anything, whether it exists or not. George Bernard Shaw said it so strikingly: You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?"
               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 I care.
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:
               Rev 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:14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. v:15  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
The End
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.
God bless you.