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Introduction: How to reason

Section 4: All the evidence

It's easy to prove anything if you pick and choose your evidence. Good reasoning means including all the facts, even if they destroy your theory.

Have you seen the evidence that proves the US government carried out 9/11? Look at the hole in the side of the Pentagon; it shows that the damage caused by the impact was far too small for a Boeing 757. (The picture above compares the width of the plane with the actual burning building.)

There's more. Look at the way the towers collapsed, including the fall of WTC 7 late in the day. That could only have been caused by a controlled explosion. How about flight 77 (the one which crashed in a field, supposedly brought down by passengers attacking the hi-jackers)? Why was there so little debris? Crashed planes always scatter debris over a wide area.

It's true that proponents of a 9/11 cover up have a lot of evidence to prove their point. The problem is, there is also a lot of evidence to prove them wrong. Of course the hole in the side of Pentagon is too small to be made by a 757 gliding in from the side. But look at the building from the air and you see a very different picture. The plane crashed into the building from above, which explains the relatively small damage caused to the outer walls.

Other evidence, ignored by the cover up theorists, confirms that the fall of WTC 7 was due to the damage sustained by the building by the debris from its neighbors. And the debris resulting from flight 77 is entirely explained by the official explanation that the passengers fought for control of the plane.

For a year or two, selective use of the evidence allowed the 9/11 cover up idea to gain traction among the more credulous, but a thorough rebuttal of their case, most notably in the March 2005 edition of Popular Mechanics magazine closed the case for all but a few dedicated conspiracy theorists whose voices can still be heard howling on

How good is your reasoning?

Can you distinguish lies from truth? Or a good argument from a false one? Can you when tell someone is trying to pull the wool over your eyes?

We keep physically fit by exercising regularly and eating healthy
food. The same is true of our minds - we need regular mental exercise and a good diet of solid facts and logic.

This chapter offers basic reasoning skills to help you understand the contradictions that lie at the heart of all religion.

0.1: Basic principles
Start at the beginning

0.2: What do we know?
Separate fact from fiction

0.3: Start with the question ...
... not with the answer

0.4: All the evidence ...
... not just some of it

0.5: Cause, correlation and no connection
What's the difference?

0.6: Don't jump to conclusions ...
... or you could land in the ...

0.7: No way
Proving a negative

0.8: Occam's Razor
The simplest solution

0.9: Facts, knowledge and science
What we know and how we know it

0.10: Know or believe?
The impossibility of God

0.11: Reason and faith
Understanding the difference

0.12: Summary

Finished the introduction? Move on to

Chapter 1
Defining God

Does God exist? Before we try to answer that question we need to have a clear idea of who or what God is. How do we describe God? What versions of God are on offer?

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the internet.

The lesson from the 9/11 "cover up" is simple. It's easy to prove anything if you pick and choose your evidence. Good reasoning means including all the facts, even if they destroy your theory. (The 9/11 cover up theory also fails another basic rule of reasoning - apply Occam's Razor and the commonsense test. We'll come back to that point in Section 8.)

Later on this website we'll see how to apply this principle to God, but here are two examples to consider: (a) for Christians who believe that the Bible is literally true: how did koalas get to Australia after the Flood? and (b) for atheists who reject the idea of a Creator, how does evolution explain the development of the bacterial flagellum?

Next: Introduction: Section 5
Cause and correlation

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If God existed, he would...

admire the beauty of a universe that he did not create

recognize that eternity is meaningless

deny both heaven and hell

disown all men and women who speak in his name

denounce the harm caused by religious "morality"

help the human race to thrive without him

If God existed, he would be an atheist.

What is the difference between science and faith?

science is certain of nothing and requires proof of everything

faith is certain of everything and requires proof of nothing

Which do you trust?

"I know there is no God"
"I believe there is no God"

Check the answer

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