Saturday, November 13, 2010

I've never seen air, but I know it exists (?)

I just ran into a pretty strange argument.  It is not the first time I have seen it, nor will it be the last.  The argument comes from a theist who argues that he knows his god exists even though it cannot be seen, much as he knows the air exists even though it cannot be seen.  This is a piss-poor argument.  Air can be detected in many ways, including visually, despite the claims of the theist.  Let me list some of the evidences that I have for the existence of air:

  1. I can feel air's warmth or chill on my body, and quantify it with an instrument called a thermometer
  2. I can measure air's pressure with an instrument called a barometer
  3. I can feel the force of air's push against my body when the wind blows
  4. I can see air pick up leaves and transport them to another location
  5. I can see air shimmering as it rises off of a hot road in summer
  6. I see how air causes the stars to twinkle in the night sky
  7. I can witness how air can be used to generate useful power using a windmill
  8. As a scuba diver, I can feel air compress inside my sinuses when I descend, and expand when I ascend
  9. As a scuba diver, I can watch the bubbles air forms as I exhale underwater
  10. As a scuba diver, I can feel air coming out of my tank when I turn on the valve
  11. As a scuba diver, I can measure air's pressure in my tank with my submersible pressure gauge
  12. As a scuba diver, I can see and feel air inflating my vest when I press the inflate button
  13. I can hear air's vibrations when my ears detect sound
  14. I can ride in an airplane which gets its lift from air interacting with the wings
  15. I can sometimes look out the airplane window and actually see air rushing over the wing
  16. I have ridden in a hot air balloon which generates its lift from the buoyancy of hot air over colder air
  17. I can see how air changes the colour of the Sun during sunrise and sunset
  18. I can see the effect air has on fire when I fan flames with my hands or an object
  19. I can see the northern lights, caused by the interaction of energetic particles with air molecules
  20. I can use my exhaled air to inflate a balloon 
  21. I can see air surrounding Earth in photographs taken from space
  22. As a skydiver, I can witness air slow my descent (vs. gravitational predictions) under a parachute
Can you think of more?  There are many, many pieces of objective* evidence, including visual evidence, for the existence of air.  What is the objective evidence for the existence of your god(s)?

*Despite many of these evidences being subjective to my senses, they are objective because almost all other people would agree with my experiences and describe them in the same way.

4 comments:

Jim said...

How dare you make a claim and then provide proof! Don't you know that it's the job of others to prove it doesn't exist?

Magnamune said...

Seeing your own breath in the cold counts, right? What about seeing the rain change direction during a storm? I guess that feeling air enter and exit my lungs as I breathe is kinda pushing it.

David McNerney said...

I don't what they correct fallacy term for this is, or if there even is one, but it's the same thing as when they ask the question "What evidence would be necessary for you to believe in a god?".

This is an obvious distraction, suggesting that there is a load of evidence that isn't up to the standard.

The fact is that there is no evidence that even brings one to think that there might be something in the theist position.

Same with this wind thing, the distraction is to make you think that the only thing that is important is the conclusive eye-witness proof.

Magnamune said...

My response generally to that is generally "Any that isn't explainable in any other way."
This usually leads to a series of poorly thought out arguments, wasting my time further... Maybe I should just ignore theists....