So an atheist sits next to me on a train going from Missouri to Kansas

And naturally we get into an argument.  As we’re going along I look out the window and see some white rocks lying on the hillside in a pattern that looks like it says,


“I wonder who put those rocks there.” I say.  “Do you think the state did it or someone who happens to own the adjoining property?”

“What?” My atheist companion shakes his head.  “You theists see purpose everywhere.  You don’t need personal agency to explain rocks lying on the ground.”

“You didn’t think that looked like a purposeful pattern?”

“Naw.  That could have easily been formed by natural forces.”

“OK,” I concede.  “So when do you think we’ll cross the border into Kansas?”

My atheist friend looked confused.  “What do you mean?”

I repeat my question.

“Didn’t you just see those rocks you were talking about?” says the atheist.  “They told us we just entered Kansas.”

2 thoughts on “So an atheist sits next to me on a train going from Missouri to Kansas

  1. Derrick

    Ah, Taylor’s teleological argument. It’s not perfect, but Bahnsen was right when he said that Taylor’s version is quite a bit more brawny than the standard version. The key is not simply apparent “design,” it’s the information transmitting aspect. A snowflake appears to have a design but it doesn’t transmit information. What sense can we make of the idea that a “random,” ateleological collection of molecules can transmit meaningful information? Taylor definitely stepped that argument up a few notches.

  2. mark Post author

    Yes, I picked it up from a Ronald Nash book. But I did this from memory and didn’t remember the origin that Nash cited.


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