Posted by mike in Religion at 4:47 pm on January 7, 2007

Today I was led to a video called “Kirk Cameron and Bananas.” It presents what the video’s makers consider to be empirical evidence of God’s existence: the banana (which is referred to as “the atheist’s nightmare”). The clip is taken from Episode 7 of The Way of the Master.

I expect that the futility of the argument being made is self-apparent to my readership, but the ridiculously inept level of reasoning employed by people like this never ceases to amaze me. In The Blind Watchmaker, Dawkins refers to the technique used as the “Argument From Personal Incredulity.” It goes something like this:

I, personally, am unable to think of any way whereby the banana and my hand could’ve simultaneously come into existence in such a way as to fit together so nicely. Since I am not educated enough in the ways the world actually works to be able to explain this in anything resembling a reasonable manner, I shall instead leap to the conclusion that it must be because God made them that way. As if further evidence of my misunderstanding of how to present a logical argument were needed, I will then employ the circular reasoning technique of concluding that I have thus proven God’s existence.

(In fairness to Dawkins, he goes a bit easier on his hypothetical subject than I do here, but the gist is the same.)

Examples such as this video would be funny if it weren’t for the fact that the people in it are generally-respected religious role models, and actually believe what they’re saying. It’s even more saddening to think that the majority of their audience presumably buys into the “evidence” being demonstrated.

The ridiculousness of the situation compounds itself even further, though, when you consider that these same people deny the bountiful evidence for the evolutionary history of the human species. The host in the video has even written several books on the subject. Did they really ignore the most obvious mental association with bananas that the majority of their audience would surely make? Do they really not consider that the hands of apes are at least as capably equipped to handle bananas as our own? Do they really not consider what those similarities are actually evidence for?

Of course they don’t, and that’s the whole point. Such an astonishingly small amount of thought goes into presentations like this that it is truly mind-boggling to imagine any potential audience taking it seriously.

After initially posting this, CK pointed me to this Popular Science article, which details the banana’s history of selective breeding in the context of the search for the next version of America’s favorite fruit. “Almost no plant has been cultivated longer by humans,” it states. “After 15,000 years of human cultivation, the banana is too perfect…”

It turns out that the people in the video above couldn’t possibly have chosen a worse example for the point they were feebly trying to make. You’d think they might have put even the smallest amount of research into the truth behind the apparent perfection of the banana before using it as the crux of their argument, but I suppose that’d be giving them way too much credit.

Comments (4)

4 Responses to ““Logic””:

  • I have no problem with these folks believing as they do. When I get steamed is when they insist on pushing their beliefs on everyone else by trying to get this dreck taught in public schools. Even the US Park Service is being forced to toe the Creationist line. Government supported religion, no?

  • At least Mike Seaver isn’t a Scientologist. Religion makes people crazy and do & think crazy things. People believe in all kinds of crazy shit. Like the Cubs winning the World Series every year.

    And as for getting this in the public schools, I never heard of anything religious in the schools I went to, and this was 10-20 years ago. At least I don’t live in the South.

  • The Way of the Master’s primary purpose is actually to teach people how to evangelize, as best as I can tell from a perfunctory glance over their Web site. That article about the Grand Canyon is a disgusting example of precisely why I do have a problem with them believing as they do.

    It’s similar to why I hate vegetarians. You might think, “What do they do to you? What do you care how they choose to eat?” and you’d be right: I don’t care how they choose to eat. The problem is, I have never, and I mean never encountered a vegetarian who isn’t eager to point out that he or she is a vegetarian at every opportunity, and attempt to use it as a springboard to discuss why you should be one, too. If they’d just shut up and order and eat their unsatisfying wussy meals without insisting on pointing it out to me, I wouldn’t care. But they never do.

    Likewise, most Christians (more so than other religious people, from my personal experience) aren’t “just” Christians– it’s like they can’t stand keeping it to themselves. They actually have to attempt to dumb you (and the rest of our society) down to their level.

  • I’m still entertained at their choice of such a heavily selectively-bred plant as their example. It’s just like proving God’s existence by looking at how comfortably the driver’s seat in my car cradles my ass.