I saw this quote from famed magician/atheist/television personality Penn Jillette‘s new book on kottke.org:
There is no god and that’s the simple truth. If every trace of any single religion died out and nothing were passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it all out again.
Now, this might be true or it might not be true â€“ it’s a thought experiment with no way of verification. It’s an assertion, not an argument. Thus, from the very beginning, the appeal to empiricism is weakened.
But this claim â€“ “it would never be created exactly that way again” â€“ is true of anythingÂ rooted in the passage of time: history, art, literature, even the progress of science itself. Continue reading