E@L saw somewhere recently a woman defending her atheism (someone look it up for me). And was asked if she was not rather an agnostic than an atheist. She dodged the question. Some guy on the video comments criticised her for not quite understanding the bias of the question.
Agnosis is about "knowing." Atheism is about "believing". You can, he said, be an agnostic atheist. They are not mutually exclusive. You don't KNOW, but you BELIEVE.
[And I guess, for the believers, if they BELIEVE that they KNOW about LTUAE, then they have what to them is a FACT in their hands. Which is why you can't really argue with them. But let's ignore this for the purposes of the blog, as it's already having been written. E@L]
So E@L is looking for an analogy and he gets as far as Schrodinger's Cat, at least initially.
Heisenberg: Imagine, E@L, that this cat was put in its metal box several hundred millennia ago (but by whom?) and the nasty radioactive substance has been decaying and threatening to release the hydrocyanic acid gas to kill the cat ever since. Not counting the cat suffocating in the first 30 mins, or the hammer mechanism seizing up, etc... Say the cat has been there since around about when human's started thinking about the afterlife, and all-powerful tea-pots on the other side of the sun (Richard Dawkin's analogy) and Santa Claus and the like. Say that we can never open the box to confirm one non-probablistic result or the other. Let's look at that box.
E@L: Amazing material, what is that box made of?
E@L: Cool. From The Third Policeman. I get it.
Heisenberg: Is the cat dead, or is there a psi-function following the Copenhagen principle that Herr Schrodinger (zat traytor!) has set out to mock, that still allows the cat to be (calculates decay of that radioactive substance over time) only 99.9999999999976% dead and 0.0000000000024% alive?
E@L: If I didn't see it for myself, I wouldn't BELIEVE it! You did all those calculations on a fucking slide rule! Dude, you 30's scientists fuckin' RAWK! Anyway, to answer your question, I do not KNOW that the cat is dead. But fuck you and your fuzzy photos of reality, I BELIEVE that after all these thousands of years, the cat is dead. It has ceased to be.
Good analogy? Not really perfect is it? There is still that tiny, teeny weeny chance. (Cue Sfx: muffled meiaowww)
How about --
Schrodinger: E@L, you and I are locked in your bedroom behind the closed door FOREVER! How comfortable are you in your sexuality? OK, joking. But, you're typing this blog post and I am indulging in other wave-function related internet activities, and I hear a noise in the lounge room.
E@L: I didn't hear anything. Are you sure? The footy is on TV: the Cats are trouncing Melbourne.
Schrodinger: No, it was more of a big thump. Man, I reckon there is an elephant in your lounge room! In fact I BELIEVE there is a baby elephant in the lounge-room. I'm going to pray to it!
E@L: Pray for a Cat's victory and pray for it not to change the channel. You can't prove that about the elephant.
Schrodinger: You can't prove otherwise. You can't tell me for certain that the elephant is not there.
E@L: OK, I admit it. I don't KNOW if there are elephants in my lounge-room or not, however I aggressively and vehemently BELIEVE there are no elephants in my lounge room. It's 3/4 time. Score check.
Or, (and this is more my true position) --
Rosen: I moved an invisible and intangible table through time and space (from the Emu Heaven shop, yesterday) into your lounge room next to the other one.
E@L: Where? What the fuck are you talking about?
Rosen: You can't see it or feel it, or use it, but it is there.
E@L: You're a fucking nut-job.
Rosen: Don't you have FAITH?
E@L: In an invisible table? No.
Rosen: Einstein told me it is there - you trust Einstein, don't you? There are spirit photographs of the table on the web. I heard a podcasts about it. I believe there is a table in your lounge-room. I am going to pray to it.
E@L: Einstein has been misquoted and misinterpreted since forever (relatively). If I can't see a table or touch it or use it for any practical purpose, there can't be a table there. A table that is not manifest in the world doesn't in effect exist.
Rosen: But I have seen the photos! This table cured my niece of hiccups! It has an aura! I can see it.
E@L: Those photos are fake, just painting done up with photoshop - it is so fucking obvious. I scared your niece into not hiccuping in a manner I will not divulge. Your aura is a migraine coming on from me about to thump you.
Rosen: How do you KNOW that?
E@L: Because there is no table there. I'm looking: No table.
Rosen: Oh table, grant E@L the faith to believe in you.
E@L: I don't need to BELIEVE that there is a table there or not. There is no table. Repeat. There is no table. I KNOW there is no table there. However, I BELIEVE a cup of tea from the Great Tea-Pot on the other side of the sun would be nice. Milk, no sugar.