Talk:Santa Claus argument
I hope you will keep this copied article. Another user wrote it on Atheism Wiki. I adapted it from there. I hope to reach kids in the 13 to 16 or 17 age range with some of Atheism Wiki. I rewrote the Santa Claus Argument there to reach young teenagers, see Santa Claus Argument. Kids of those ages are regularly on the gaming wikis that Wikia runs. Also High School or Secondary School students often must struggle with religious doubt alone. Only their parents or teachers are allowed to indoctrinate them. Here’s what happened to me.
Anyway I think the original version is a good way to reach adults so I copied it here. It’s quite different from the present version of the Atheism Wiki article. Proxima Centauri 09:21, 23 February 2009 (CST)
User Jrod742 brought up some issues for the santa claus page that I'll address:
- "How can Santa Clause be equated to God?"
It's very comparable. Ex-theists believed because they were told the god exists. Santa believers for the same reason. Both beliefs have 'faith mechanisms' where you're instructed not to question, but just believe. Neither have evidence to support the claim. Both have "be good and be rewarded" claims. We have plenty of evidence that humans not only created Santa, but have created something like a million gods. We're very adept at anthropomorphizing.
The article could perhaps be more explicit as to the comparisons, I agree.
- "Santa wasn't even originally created in how we see him today, Saint Nicholas was a legitimate person and eventually his legend of giving was redirected into what we know today."
You should look up Horus, Mithra and others. Most of christianity is a plagarization of previous religions and cultures. Jesus fairly exactingly fits a generic archetype found in stories.
- "God, or for simpler argument, the existence of a higher power was a thought has existed for centuries."
Try many thousands of years. If you look at the progression of deification, you'll see that we had primitive polytheistic gods, some of which were physical objects. We had a period where actual people were considered gods (like Pharaohs). Now the god concept has evolved into single invisible entities. People keep modifying and reinventing the concept - like Santa has been.
- "The thought of Santa has been commercialized to gain money. Some would argue that the thought of God has done the same thing, the Vatican is laced with gold and there are million dollar churches. However, if one believes in the Judeo-Christian God they believe in a God who gives to the poor, not one who gains wealth and this can be exemplified most with the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. Thus the issue of both Santa and God being created for gaining money is resolved"
How is it resolved? The "Starbucks within a starbucks" joke has nothing on how many churches are plopped down on every street corner. It's an easy way to make a living. Build a church, get people to come, preach at them and get them to tithe 10% of their income. Religion has been a powerful tool for controlling groups of people, and the wealth it generates doesn't stop at the Vatican. Look at Mormonism, Scientology and every "mega church" with pastors maintaining their 5th Mercedes.
My point is that there's a gargantuan motivation to establish and maintain a large group of people who want to be "entertained", even if it's with a bunch of fanciful tales. People have turned Santa into a money racket just like they've turned religion into a money racket (except, they started that long long ago).
- "because what people have done in the name of God does not exemplify what the essence of the Judeo-Christian God is."
How exactly does that resolve it? No one said there aren't any genuine believers. The point is that there's a strong comparison between a belief in a god, and santa.
- "And the it is in agreement here that the universe is impersonal. However, the theistic argument here would be that God transcends the universe and in fact makes it work."
How does it make it work? Make what work, exactly? What does this have to do with the god/santa comparison?
- "The question here would be a deeply philosophical one, if the universe is governed by the laws of physics what governs the laws of physics?"
It's a valid question, but the answer is "We don't know, for now". Be careful with the question, as it's already implying a number of logical fallacies. Again, what does this have to do with the god/santa comparison?
- "The point that is trying to be made is that there is rational evidence against the existence of Santa, however, there is rational evidence both for and against the existence of God."
What evidence exists for the existence of a god?
- "How then can one equate a childish story to a philosophical/metaphysical question that far supersedes the intellectual capacity necessary to rationally disassemble the argument for Santa? God and Santa are such different topics that equating the two is ignorant."
It's easy to equate them. The point is that adults hold onto their Santa-for-adults without critical thinking. The point isn't so much as to insult theists as to convey an understanding of why atheists exist.
None of the points you brought up were valid, and some weren't entirely relevant. If we were to make a comparison table between santa and god, it would be fairly large... and we're talking about critically important points.
About the only useful thing from this discussion that I gleaned was the potential for a comparison chart.
--- The following is by Yair, 20 Feb 2011
First I'd note that I wrote the original (and I'm glad Proxima brought it here).
As for Jrod742's "rebuttal", I'm afraid it isn't. While I do appreciate some of the points raised, Jrod742 didn't rebut the points actually raised in the argument. The argument is that it isn't plausible to believe in Santa/God because (a) the positive proof for them vanished upon examination and (b) they make no a-priori sense. I'm sympathetic to the philosophical questions raised by Jrod742 such as "why are the laws of nature what they are?", but this has nothing to do with the argument itself. It argues for why a particular conception - a personal god - isn't a plausible answer to these questions. Whether you agree with that argument or not, you need to address it if you're to write a "rebuttal" to it. You need to say why it is (a) plausible to believe in a god-of-the-gaps and/or why it is (b) plausible to believe in a non-physical, non-evolved mind.
- - Yair (20 Feb 2011)