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Posts Tagged ‘tantalus’

I don’t know if you read the LA Times. I do, mostly because I used to live in LA, and I’m always curious to keep track of where the hipsters are hanging out these days, which celebrities are selling their multi-million dollar mansions, and how voters and politicians are driving the state into bankruptcy.

This morning I was greeted not only with the aforementioned journalistic staples, but also by the op-ed piece “Atheists: No Zeus, no reason, just whining”:

The problem with atheists — and what makes them such excruciating snoozes — is that few of them are interested in making serious metaphysical or epistemological arguments against Zeus’s existence, or in taking on the serious arguments that theologians have made attempting to reconcile, say, Zeus’s omniscience with free will or Zeus’s goodness with human suffering.

Although it may be tough to believe, I have in the past been accused of lacking seriousness. Nonetheless, I am perfectly capable of being serious, as the following argument demonstrates:

A Serious Metaphysical Argument

1. I am not an excruciating snooze.
2. Typically, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
3. “Zeus exists” is an extraordinary claim.
4. A recurring appearance on a syndicated television drama does not count as extraordinary evidence.
5. Therefore, we shouldn’t believe in Zeus.

Given this serious argument, there’s little point in further addressing the arguments trying to reconcile Zeus’s omniscience with free will. That’s no better a use of our time than taking on theologians’ “serious” arguments about whether Zeus was raised by the goat Amalthea, the nymph Adamanthea, or the nymph Cynosura. Or theologians’ “serious” arguments about why Zeus would have married his sister. Or even theologians’ “serious” arguments about whether Zeus punished Tantalus for cannibalism or for stealing a golden dog.

In fact, given the wide range of things Zeus is claimed to have done, one could spend one’s entire life grapping with philosophers’ “serious arguments” about them. It’s pretty obvious that this wouldn’t be a productive use of anyone’s time.

(The article also contains a wide variety of name-calling, which doesn’t really merit my attention, as it didn’t mention me explicitly.)

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