Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Star Trek Rule and Argumentary Efficiency.

The Star Trek rule is generally a rule described by Russell Glasser on the Atheist Experience™ blog:as asking theists to keep in mind:

Before quoting the Bible to atheists, always ask yourself whether the same statement would be just as effective in your mind if you were quoting Captain Kirk.

The problem I have with the rule is argumentative efficiency. Due to the sheer mistake per word ratio of creationists and theists and other general wrong people it become critically important to have efficient arguments. That ultimately if you take a minute to refute each wrong claim and they can make four wrong claims a minute, you are going to lose to the sheer divergence of wrongness and leave some claims unrefuted or require four times as much time as they took to make said claims. The problem with the Star Trek rule is that it violates the general brevity required for refutations.

I recall a fairly good video on youtube that took seven minutes to say what I know how to say in a fourteen words, which is largely a refutation to the argument that atheism says something about God and therefore is a faith position and therefore makes atheism a religion. "If I not buying, what you're selling, it doesn't mean I'm selling something else." I believe there was a caller on the atheist experience which called in just to give that great one line rebuttal. And it's the best rebuttal I've seen for that particular argument.

The issue with the Star Trek Rule is that you have to explain yourself and it's not worthwhile. The better answer is to appropriate something Robgene (About Atheist Forum, Twsh Quotes) said: "Trying to prove God with the Bible is like trying to prove Superman with a Comic Book." Which I turned into a demotivator and got some quasi fame. I think this is better than the Star Trek Rule.

I think you can forgo the long explanation and initially undercut the comment by saying:

If you want to relate a nugget of wisdom, ask if I'd be compelled with that same nugget of wisdom taken from a comic book. If you want to try to prove God exists by using the the Bible, please note that it will be about as effective as trying to prove Superman exists with a comic book.


Vahram G. Diehl said...

I have pretty much stopped speaking with religious people on every subject except the weather. "How's the weather?" "Fine and dandy." End conversation, every one is happy.

Tatarize said...

Sadly a better choice than I'm often inclined to make. Oh, you don't understand that concept the 4th way I put it, have a fifth way!