The God Deception

by Paul Edwards

December 2008

Copyright by Paul Edwards, all rights reserved.

The intention is to eventually turn this into a book, but in the meantime I want to get the idea out there, so the only place on the net that this is allowed is

Dedicated to the brave Iraqis who stood in long lines to join the Iraqi security forces, even after the previous day's line had been tragically bombed.

Chapter 1 – The Dawkins Position

This book is a response to Richard Dawkins's book “The God Delusion”. The basic conclusion of this book is “there is almost certainly no God”. He isn't willing to make the leap to say “there is almost certainly no life elsewhere in the universe” (wise, since the data isn't in yet to apply probability and statistics) and he isn't willing to make the leap to say “there is almost certainly no other universe besides our own – in fact, he argues that this is a possible explanation for some finely tuned constants in our universe”. Yet his is prepared to make the logical leap, with basically zero data, to say that our universe almost certainly has no God.

The normal scientific process to arrive at that conclusion would be to examine a large number of other universes, and find out what percentage of them had a god (by “god” I mean “intelligent entity (as testable by an IQ test for example) capable of creating the laws of physics” and, like Dawkins, I am not relying on the wishy-washy definitions of “god” to include the laws of physics themselves). We could also determine what percentage of universes were created by more than one god. And we could also determine what percentage of universes simply sprung into being – perhaps because the laws of physics in those universes are more relaxed – not requiring such stringent “goldilocks” parameters.

Hopefully, we would then be in a position to do further analysis on the different gods. What percentage of gods are good/care about creatures in the universe? What percentage of gods care about the creatures in their universe, but refrain from interfering with their creation? What percentage of gods go to extraordinary lengths to hide their existence from their creation, by for example laying out a long evolutionary history for people like Dawkins to seize upon as probably cause. In other words – what percentage of gods are deceptive? And furthermore, we could start doing some surveys to find out what motivates gods to create universes, and why some of them choose to then abandon it, and perhaps others choose to be deceptive.

If we had all those figures in, but didn't have the figure for our particular universe, we would then be able to come up with an “almost certainly” one way or the other. In his impatience at seeing so many people believing in gods without hard evidence, and continually grasping at straws, and doing evil acts in the name of religion, Dawkins can't resist making a logical leap of his own – to eliminate god from the universe as a near certainty.

I'm not dismissing the rest of Dawkins's logic. Most of it is is perfectly sound. The fact that almost all people are of a particular religion, not because they chose it after carefully weighing up the evidence that each religion presented – but simply because that was the first religion they were indoctrinated into – is perfectly sound, and “delusion” is probably an apt word to be using. All the more so when people start using supposedly inerrant texts which have contradictions in them. This sort of position, especially as a strong position, is infuriating for a scientist who deals in cold hard logic and spends his time trying to eliminate illogic from the world (largely because it often damages society when we follow illogical unscientific dogmas/religions (communism had its own inerrant “holy book” too)).

Nor am I dismissing some of the ancillary arguments such as the bigotry against atheists in America. I will however respond to some of the abhorrent political positions Dawkins holds himself though.

Chapter 2 – Dawkins the Prophet

Mr Dawkins, let's imagine that the following happens on April 1, 2010:

It's midday and you're sitting down writing an email before lunch. You're alone in your house, and the door is locked. You've just pressed “send”.

Suddenly you experience the sensation of your ankles being grabbed, and you are pulled feet first to your ceiling. Your feet are now on the ceiling, and you are hanging upside-down. At the same time, for the first time in your life, you experience telepathy. It turns out to be a sense similar to hearing and seeing, and it is no more describable to someone who hasn't experienced it than it is attempting to describe sound to someone who has been deaf since birth. The sentence that is transmitted to you is “April Fool, Dawkins!”.

I can guarantee you that you're not going to say to yourself at this moment “Oh, I must be hallucinating again – I'm not really suspended from the ceiling by an invisible force who is communicating with me – I'm probably actually lying in bed dreaming”. Nor will you say “Oh, looks like there's a previously unknown law of physics that allows people to sometimes be suspended from the ceiling – must be related to quantum mechanics”.

No, your suspension from the ceiling is scientifically observable. You can repeatedly look at the floor, and the ceiling, and your feet, and see the same thing. It hasn't been independently verified yet though. But while suspended from the ceiling, you won't be saying “I won't believe this is happening until independently confirmed”. You'll instead be saying “@!$*”. Your entire worldview has just been shattered. All that effort you went to to ensure people that there was no supernatural creator was wrong, a complete waste of time, and your entire thought process that allowed you to reach such a conclusion needs to be reexamined so that it never ever happens again. There is a God after all (or perhaps an alien who has mastered quantum mechanics?), and the technical term for you is in fact “prophet”.

You're suddenly released from the ceiling and you unceremoniously fall to the floor. So far it seems that God isn't the evil entity described in the Old Testament, but he's hardly perfectly good either. “Arrogant and annoying” would probably be the best description. A bit like yourself perhaps? Maybe that silly old line “we were made in God's image” that is trotted out with zero evidence turned out to be correct after all? Score one for religious fundamentalists. Imagine that – being bested by a religious fundamentalist. Maybe you'll decide to conduct yourself with a bit more humility from now on? Nah. One of the benefits of being made in God's image is being able to carry on as before even when caught with your pants down.

As you pick yourself up off the floor, God tells you to go back to your email. He wants you to write an email to one of your scientific colleagues. Once again, I can guarantee you that you're not going to say “Oh, I've clearly just turned insane – hearing voices (not that receiving telepathic signals is necessarily anything remotely like hearing – but this is the common term used for people who claim to have communicated with God) – I'd better ring the emergency services so that I can be put into a straightjacket”. God tells you to say in the email that you are going to pray for the safety of drivers in your country over the Easter long weekend. You happen to be living in a country that has a 4-day long weekend in Easter, and a media that has a morbid fascination with the road toll on long weekends.

You dutifully send off the email as directed. Who are you to argue with God? You'd have to be insane to do that! Being sent on April Fool's Day, your colleague will be sure to see it as a light-hearted joke. But nevermind.

The next thing that God tells you to do is to write down the date, time, and six numbers. You do this too. Not because you're scared of punishment for non-compliance, but simply because it's fascinating to finally make contact with the supernatural – something hitherto confined to movies, or boring and unconvincing stories from flakey people.

Next you're told to drive to a park on the other side of town. Nothing special about the park. Not somewhere you've ever been to before, nor would you ever go out of your way to go there. Certainly inconceivable that you would drive across town on your own on the spur of the moment. But dutifully you do so, and after an hour's drive, you're at the non-descript park. You are directed to take a particular path, and at a particular point, stop and look to your left. In the distance is something that looks like garbage. Yellow in colour. You are told to go and take a look. You trample 30 meters through the bush and take a look. It's the decomposed body of a girl with a yellow dress.

You're shaken. You've never seen a dead body before, let alone a probable murder victim. Without prompting, you call the police on your mobile phone. The police come out and start examining the scene. They ask you what you were doing out here. How can you tell them the truth – that God sent you here? You hesitate, wondering how to explain yourself. The police sense your hesitation and become very suspicious. “What's your address, sir?” You give the answer to that without hesitation. It's on the other side of town. “Why did you drive across town, sir?”. Again you're lost for words as you realise you're in trouble and need to figure out how to get yourself out of this. Surely God will protect you though? Surely he's not a vindictive creep who wants to teach you a lesson? Just like he protected that girl in the yellow dress! Hmm.

The police take you to the station for further questioning. You've always been a law-abiding citizen and have no experience being on the other side of the fence. You now face the prospect of incarceration. You've never been without your freedom in your entire life. And now you're suddenly about to lose it. Despite being completely innocent! You ask to see a lawyer. You're looking guiltier by the minute. The police are duty-bound to incarcerate you overnight until the lawyer is available.

You spend your entire night lying awake, scared of what has happened to you. Freedom turns out to be the most precious thing in the world. And you've just lost yours. Maybe now you can have some empathy for all those innocent Iraqis who were locked up under Saddam's regime? Maybe this is the lesson God wants to give you? Instead of mocking Bush who emptied Saddam's horrible jails, maybe you should have sent him a letter of thanks for caring about the freedom of brown people. God has stopped communicating with you, so there's no advice available there (and not that any advice would be necessarily helpful – look where it got you so far!). Just the same as you abandoned the people in Saddam's jails, he has abandoned you. You're made in his image, remember? You are now totally dependent on the fine print of the law to protect you. Let's hope modern western institutions have decent laws that protect the innocent by default. Saddam's victims certainly didn't have any such institutions until Bush turned up (against your best judgement).

Your lawyer comes and you rely on the inmate-lawyer confidential relationship to tell him the truth – that you received revelations from God and he directed you to that spot. The lawyer immediately “knows” that you're stark-raving mad. However, he doesn't use those words. He simply explains to you that the police will not look kindly on that. Thankfully the insititutions have ensured that he is batting for your side and he advises you to let him do the talking. The lawyer explains to the police that you have been traumatized by seeing a murder victim and are not in a position to answer any further questions. The police have no grounds on which to hold you. It is unlikely that you would have reported the crime and waited for the police to arrive had you had anything to do with it. In addition, you are a respectable member of society and not the sort of person who would run, or would have anywhere to run to. So the police should let you return to your own environment until you have recovered from the experience, and that you have agreed to assist the police after seeking medical help. Fortunately, the police buy the excuse, and you once again regain most of your freedom. It's still not fully free, because a condition of release is compulsory medical treatment. People who believe in talking snakes aren't compelled to seek psychiatric help, but you are. Otherwise it's back to the slammer for you.

You arrive home after your ordeal. You're still alone. Now you start receiving telepathic transmissions again. This time you are told to get the piece of paper and switch on the TV. The lottery results are on. The numbers on TV match the numbers on your piece of paper. God provides some more information to you. There is no longer any doubt – God tells you that the reason he put you on earth was to see if you would make every attempt to provide the same institutions that protect your human rights spread across the globe to protect everyone else. And that you failed spectacularly. And he also says that he was testing Bush. He gave Bush two things – a religion that says “love thy enemy” and 9/11. To see whether Bush would lash out and kill every Muslim in sight, or every Arab in sight, or perhaps both to be on the safe side – or whether in the face of that extreme provocation he would find a way to be nice. And that in this case, Bush responded correctly, freeing 27 million people and giving them the same institutions that you failed to provide (and in fact opposed). At around about now you will feel lower than a talking snake's belly. Once again you were bested by a supposed “religious nutcase” and this time your entire political worldview is shattered.

Once again God ceases to further communicate with you.

Chapter 3 - Dawkins the Loony

The Easter long weekend is over and the media is breathlessly announcing that the road toll this Easter is the lowest it's been for 30 years. Surely the result of a statistical anomaly rather than your April Fool's Day prayer. Your colleague emails you back and says “wow – what a coincidence – bet that had you in stitches!” By itself, it would indeed seem to be a statistical anomaly. They're known as outliers, and they come unpredictably. But you know something he doesn't. You know that it was God who told you to write that email. Unless you were hallucinating of course. Speaking of which, it's now time to go to the compulsory psychiatric evaluation. Uh oh.

The doctors have a report from the police to say you were suffering trauma and that a psychological evaluation is required so that you can help them with their enquiries. Once again you hestitate to tell the doctors. But once again you know about doctor-patient confidentiality and once again you know that under your liberal democracy, freedom of religion is sacrosanct, so you can tell them about any religion, whether it be a completely absurd one that includes talking snakes, or a less absurd (but still absurd) one where you are the prophet, and there should be no problem.

Unfortunately now you find out that while talking snakes are OK, being a prophet with some important, worldview-changing information is not OK. You are certified delusional, given medication, and kept under lock and key until you change your mind and switch back to atheism or talking snakes. You profess freedom of thought, freedom of speech and freedom of religion. But all to no avail. The doctors have all read the same books – not one of which allows for the possibility of people receiving revelations. That is ALWAYS a sign of delusion in 2010. In the years 0 and 700 it was not delusion, it was indisputable fact. But the Quran says that Mohammed was the last prophet, and who are the doctors of 2010 to argue with the Quran?!

You have a stack of evidence surrounding the (unverifiable) revelations to present the doctors with – your amazing discovery of a murder victim (verifiable by the police), your email predicting the dramatically low road toll (verifiable by your colleague and the news), and the advanced prediction of the lottery results (unverifiable since you could have put a faked date/time). In response, the doctors had one thing running through their mind - “loony, loony, loony”. Or in scientific terms - “Root toot toot. Root toot toot. We are the boys from the in-sti-tute. M-E-N. T-A-L. Mental, mental, ooooohhhhhh”. They wouldn't even countenance it as a possibility. Not even 0.1% chance that what you are explaining might actually be true. It's not something worthy of consideration. The doctors have their professional reputation to consider, even if you apparently don't care about yours. They are paid to prescribe drugs for loonies, not change their own religion, which is what this would essentially entail (recognizing a new prophet – this time one that champions the scientific process!).

Anyway, after another few days of incarceration, with no sign of improvement (you're still delusional, but also still fully functional and capable of continuing a normal life), you're released, so long as you agree to continue taking the medication. You certainly won't find an open-minded doctor willing to go against his medical books based on sundry coincidences that you report. Everyone agrees that you're a fruitcake who thinks that you can stand on ceilings. Including me. We're all slaves to peer pressure, aren't we?

Chapter 4 – The Dawkins Dilemma

Ok. Now we have a problem. You now have to decide for yourself whether reality is reality or not. Maybe you hallucinated the whole experience. And as part of that hallucination, you wrote an email in advance of the road toll figures. And it was a pure coincidence that the road toll happened to be out of character this year. A coincidence plus hallucination seems to be a simpler explanation than a god using telepathy! I mean, gods aren't telepathic – are they? Even if gods exist, which they almost certainly don't, based on confused reasoning, humans don't! It is a scientific fact that no human has ever demonstrated the ability to do telepathy – there's a million dollar reward available from skeptics for the first person who can.

What about the lottery numbers? The odds on you getting them right are astronomical. Especially when you don't even play lottery. You are very familiar with what a lottery is – “lottery (noun) – a tax on people who aren't good at maths”. Then again, with the Law of Large Numbers, someone is bound to get them right. Maybe it was just a coincidence. But is LOLN applicable? We're not testing here whether *someone* got them right. What we're testing is the probability of *you* getting them right as part of your “experience”. So let's try the next possibility instead. What Really Happened is that while you were suffering from trauma, you switched on TV, wrote down the lottery numbers, put the old date and time, and then hallucinated that this event happened earlier, and you also hallucinated away your memory of the real event.

Instead of having a God of the Gaps, we instead have Hallucination and Extraordinary Coincidence of the Gaps. Equally as convenient for any atheist to cling to – but you're unlikely to fool yourself regarding an endless stream of hallucinations.

Ok, what about the dead girl? The police have now estimated the girl has been dead for 2 years. Ok, hallucination to the rescue again. What Really Happened is that you hallucinated a desire to drive to the other end of town, then, like any ordinary person walking along a trail (with the sole exception of everyone else who walked down that trail for the last 2 years), you are attracted to yellow-coloured garbage and being an inquisitive scientist felt compelled to find out what sort of garbage it was (garbage is fascinating, after all, and it's not like there's a lot of it about). The other possibility is that you murdered the girl yourself, and hallucinated away the whole sordid affair, but the memory came back to haunt you. The only problem is that you only came to this city, indeed, this country, a year ago. No problem. What actually happened is that back in the old country, you bought a false passport, visited the country, murdered the girl, went back, burned your faked passport, then hallucinated the whole experience away.

Anything, absolutely ANYTHING, is more probable than supernatural intervention, because supernatural intervention is totally implausible. Intelligent life on earth is plausible, but intelligent life anywhere outside this universe is beyond comprehension. Nobody, absolutely nobody, save a few billion lunatics who don't understand the scientific process, would ever countenance the possibility of a life form outside our universe. The great thing about universes is that we all stay within it. There's no such thing as inter-universe communication or somesuch. There's bound to be a law of physics that says we can't do that. Or if not a law, then at least a gentleman's agreement.

Well Mr Dawkins, which way are you going to jump? You either have to assume you that all the knowledge in your brain is in doubt, since significant chunks are mere hallucinations, and instead the only thing you can rely on is stuff from science books – or you have to trust your own brain – with no history of hallucination or trauma – and combine it with the “extraordinary coincidences” that happened so many times in such a short period – to come to the conclusion that you really did receive revelations from God.

Chapter 5 – Dawkins Rethinks

Let's hypothesize that you're not a certified loony (regardless of the fact that that's exactly what you are according to the medical report), and that you really did receive revelations from God. Where did you go wrong in your book? Which bit of logic was incorrect and led you to the exact wrong conclusion, instead of at least remaining safe with agnosticism until some data was available? And more to the point – how on earth is inter-universe communication possible? Is that a new law of physics or what?

Ironically, a perfectly reasonable mechanism is readily available. What is that mechanism and where can it be found? Why – in your own book! You touched on something very important – an important model for the universe – and spent no time at all exploring it and it's implications. Why not? Don't you think if you're going to talk about the fundamentals of the universe you should explore a significant model available? What's that model? That of a computer simulation (e.g. “Counterfeit World” aka “Simulacron-3”). In your own words - “I cannot think how to disprove it”. This model has other supporters/originators – for example Nick Bostrom and picked up by William Irwin, who, on Keith Olbermann's MSNBC show remarked “maybe it's run by a fourth-grader”.

They give a real example of “The Sims”. Sure, the characters in The Sims don't have the intelligence we (or at least, some of us) have. If we assume that there's nothing supernatural about intelligence (indeed, the atheist's position doesn't allow any other option), then all we need to do is wait another 100, 1000, million or even billion years, and we will have that computer technology ourselves. Even a billion years in a 13.7 billion year assumed history of the universe is no big deal. You can see the huge advances made in mere decades in computing right now. Imagine what things will look like when the universe has aged a mere 1% extra.

It's perfectly feasonible that that 1% aging has already happened, and that the computing technology advances have already occurred, and that darn 4th grader, who we unfortunately have to call God, is already playing us, just as our 4th graders play “The Sims”.

And if we look about at all of our primitive universes, whether they be “The Sims” or “Pac Man”, we can actually see what real live gods look like. It isn't a pretty sight. But we do finally have statistics available – we can see that all known universes have at least one god. Some of them have more than one god (e.g. two fourth graders agree to play a game). And in some universes, God actually exists inside in “human” form. Or at least he has a prophet to express his will (his will in the case of “Pac Man” is to eat dots). Most prophets in most known universes spend an inordinate amount of time killing bad people (which God deliberately created). God is almost always on the good side as he goes about ridding the world of evil. Your entire concept of the Iraq war is wrong. You shouldn't have been telling Bush to not liberate Iraq because there was no WMD there. You should have been suggesting to Bush that there might be WMD there, so if he's not willing to liberate Iraq purely for the sake of doing God's work in ridding the world of evil like Saddam and his oppressive institutions, then he should at least do it for any possible WMD. It shouldn't be Bush trying to convince you.

So if our universe is anything like the universes where we know how they came into existence, you can expect there to be a God on earth somewhere, desperately running around blasting people. He generally has to do it the hard way though. He doesn't have a “zap all evil people instantly” button. He generally has to blast people one at a time too. So if you're wondering “if Bush is doing God's work, why doesn't he liberate xyz country instead of Iraq?”, well, you have your answer. He is not in a position to launch simultaneous fronts against a few dozen countries. He has to take them down in a strategic manner such that he emerges from the rubble alive. Launching a nuke at China due to institutionalized human rights abuses isn't going to work out too well. Fortunately there are easier targets available, and their institutions are even worse. And like in the computer game “Agent USA”, with the right weaponry, sometimes an evil fuzzball can be turned into a good citizen.

Now you happen to know that you are the prophet, not Bush, since you're the one who really received communication. Bush's alleged remark about God telling him to invade Iraq is from a dubious single source. Your claim of being a prophet has more supporting evidence, even if that evidence is only good enough to convince you due to the fact that we haven't got the ability to videotape telepathic transfers with our current level of technology, which is the only thing that will even allow the scientific community to even COUNTENANCE your seemingly absurd claim.

So let's start with the mechanics of the whole thing. When the characters in “The Sims” are bestowed with artificial intelligence, such that they're even smarter than their fourth grader God, who most certainly isn't worthy of worship, what mechanism exists for inter-universe communication? Well, that's the beauty of computers – you can easily define a feature of the program such that each character has a (normally dormant) receptor in their brain. You then just type a sentence on your keyboard and specify the human number and hey presto, the human receives a message from outside the universe. Any God with a mean streak could have a lot of fun with this. Sending messages to less intelligent Sims so that they get ridiculed by the intelligent ones, and then after a while of ridicule from the intelligent ones, send a few choice messages to one of them! And how did you end up on the ceiling? Another very easy thing to code. As easy as it is to make a Pac Man change direction.

So now you have a perfectly good model for this universe. Based on your experience of our own universes. Of course, the hardware that our universe operates on may not be exactly the same. In fact, it's almost certainly different. As our own will be in another 1% of time. But the concept is identical, and the ease of programming is also identical (it's probably even easier to program as well).

Of course, if the fourth grader in the level above us probably already has the technology to transfer his own brain onto silicon and have eternal life. And rather than just watching the Sims characters running around blasting each other, may actually transfer his silicon data into the computer itself. Similar to virtual reality. But this would be real reality. He would presumably take precautions such that if he dies (assuming when he inserts himself into the simulation he doesn't grant himself superpowers because that would take away the challenge), he gets automatically returned by the software to his former silicon home where he can resume his throne and get revenge on the guy who killed him via a few “miracles”, and try again. The possibilities are endless. That is the nature of software. Your imagination is the limit.

More likely the computers are simply deterministic, so the result of the game play is knowable, and God (the fourth grader) simply selects a program where he gets to have both fun and challenges but never really “loses” (gets murdered). But who knows how this one has been implemented. The only thing for sure is that this very plausible scenario cannot possibly be ruled out as improbable, forcing the regress to stop at our universe as if our universe and its goldilocks values are more likely to be spontaneously created than regressed back to a point where there are more amenable laws of physics.

Also note that our god may not know where he came from himself. If he spent more time studying at school instead of playing video games, maybe he would be able to find out.

Chapter 6 – Dawkins the Sim

Let's say one of these computer simulations we expect to create in another 1% of time has now been created, and Dawkins is one of the Sims in that universe. He's already been bestowed with artificial intelligence, so there is nothing preventing him from wandering around looking for fossils to try to figure out where he came from, in the absence of any obviously visible god. In fact, it's probably deterministic (no true random number generator to do anything else) that that is exactly what he will end up doing. Although the software is deterministic, the fourth grader may not be aware of the end result, so it's all new to him (just like we don't know the next move a computer chess player is going to move, although given enough time, we can in fact determine it ourselves).

God (or at least, the software vendor) has deliberately laid out a large fossil trail for Dawkins to discover and has a great belly laugh as Dawkins takes the bait – hook, line and sinker. As you know from our own software, our own gods don't bother waiting billions of years for their universes to evolve from bacteria – they just construct a finished world with absolutely everything “faked”. Mothers didn't really give birth to children. But they absolutely 100% believe they did. Barring lots and lots of hallucinations to the rescue, they still remember it!

This is an interesting technical challenge for a software author – how do you construct a universe so that you can have intelligent creatures inside it that believe – truly believe – that they sprung into being of their own accord. It's a hacker's challenge. Are you devious enough to outsmart your intelligent opponent who is trying to catch you? Laying out an evolutionary trail may not be enough. If everyone on earth considered evolution to be an undisputed scientific fact, and no alternative theory had ever been proposed, then the focus of interest would go back to the universe's origins. And the debate would be confined to this with no means of investigation and no means of knowing which one was more likely, since we have no way of doing statistical analysis on universe creation. Ok, we do have our own universes that we create – but they may not be a statistically valid sample. We really need to get outside our universe and do some serious science. But that's not something available to us at the moment.

No, to put a stake in the heart of the Sims who believe there's probably a creator, God lays out a track record of them being spectacularly wrong every time they open their mouth. Especially the way they have been grasping at gaps for so long and getting it wrong. And a track record of burning heathens at the stake doesn't help much for their credibility either.

Like the boy who cried wolf, this obscures any real gaps, assuming the software author couldn't think of a way of masking that gap. Or perhaps the software author deliberately wants some gaps, so that neither side can claim complete victory and endless debates can ensue.

The 4.5 billion years of evolutionary history is there to help muddy the waters. What sort of god would watch bacteria for that long?! But it serves an important purpose – it allows the possibility, however implausible it may seem to some, that despite the fact that we haven't figured out how to *deliberately* create either a living cell from non-living components, or artificial intelligence, despite concerted effort – nature has a way of bringing both things into being without any assistance from an intelligent being.

Yes, somewhere up the chain of regression exactly this had to have happened – intelligent life formed without external assistance. But hopefully that universe is a bit more conducive to life creation. That is if the intelligent being there can say “yes, it's a part of physics – just run a magnet over water and hey presto, a living cell is created – don't you have that where you come from?”. And intelligence? Of course – any time you put two cells together, they form an Intel chipset. What sort of whacky cells do they have in your part of the multiverse?

So that's a perfectly plausible method of deception. The same way that religious people have been suckered by “holy” books, Dawkins has been suckered by an elaborate set of “clues”. Of course, some of those clues are very useful. They have to be for the ruse to work. As the Sims learn and follow the scientific process, they manage to form theories which allow prediction which allows for good things to be done. So it's clearly a winner. Religion has never done anything useful that couldn't have been done just as well or better via secular means.

Or has it?

Chapter 7 – Dawkins philosophizes

How could our deceptive God, with the aid of his software, give us some radical philosophy to live by, while still hiding his very existence? Simple – put it in an easily discreditable book, and make that the major religion. Seems to have worked quite well.

Our inherently violent nature (no-one teaches us to do that – people instead have to go to great lengths to teach us not to be violent to get our own way) – which helps to discourage the idea of a creator (what sort of God would create us bad?) - and which helps to encourage the idea of evolution (we needed to be selfish predators in order to survive) – is not very conducive to the peaceful world most of us would like to live in.

There is exactly one thing in the bible that no secular humanist would ever be able to derive from Aristotle's Golden Rule - “love thy enemy”. It sets a ridiculously high standard to aspire to. If you fail to fight your enemy, you may literally be eaten by him. “Do not fight” is simply stupid if you at all value your own human rights and those of your loved ones. But consider a fairly recent fight. On April 3rd, 2003 in Najaf, Iraq, a group of irate, but unarmed, Iraqis were confronting a group of heavily-armed US soldiers led by LTC Chris Hughes. Almost any other army, in any other period in history, would have opened fire on the aggressive mob. But something had permeated his brain to make him not take the easy route and kill his enemy in a turkey shoot. He instead retreated from the scene. There would be no unnecessary blood spilt that day. He fought without hatred. That's about as close as you will ever see to “love thy enemy” and it has made decent people like LTC Hughes – even if he is not a Christian (odds are that he is), the fact is that philosophy has permeated the soul of many people like him. How else could you see such beauty without the bible? It's extremely unlikely that anyone could derive that from the Golden Rule. How did the authors of the bible come up with that then? Why should the “clearly” (due to all the inconsistencies) faked bible include something out of the blue like that? Was one of the authors an unsung philosopher? He managed to come up with that 2000 years ago?!

Chapter 8 – Dawkins's Dogma

Dawkins has made his career out of converting people into his own incorrect “religion”. At some point atheism becomes a religion of its own. E.g. when you refuse to give equal possibility of an intelligent creator, as you do to a multiverse, in the absence of any evidence of either, (at least until your revelations), you are a dogmatic atheist. Why didn't you hedge your bets, Dawkins? No matter how sure you are of something, always hedge. ALWAYS. Even when you can look up in the sky and see the sun clearly revolving around the earth – even a 5 year old child can see that – for 12 hours per day no less – and you'd have to be blind as a bat to miss it – ALWAYS HEDGE. There may be some complicated alternative explanation.

Occam's Razor is undoubtedly a useful rule of thumb. But when it's used as a tool to stifle discussion on alternative explanations, it becomes a dogmatic religion all of its own. The dopes at the Vatican didn't need to sully their name for eternity by forcing Galileo to sign a confession that the sun revolved around the earth. All they needed to do was round up the nearest Occam's Razor dogmatists to do their dirty work for them. The simplest explanation is indeed that the earth is the centre of the universe.

So now it's time to make amends. How do you unwind all that you have done? Many/most people use their god as their security blanket. Believe it or not - “eternal death” is scary for some. These poor vulnerable people turned out to actually be correct anyway. So you spent all this effort scaring them and trying to take away their security blanket – all for nought!

Perhaps if you had simply concentrated on ensuring that their dogmatic “holy books” weren't thumped, and perhaps argued that if they're going to treat “do not eat pork” in the bible as figurative, and it really means “bacon sandwich anyone?”, then you can't go and insist that your favourite moral/ethic is absoluetely definitely one that needs to be taken literally. Or perhaps you could have suggested that they convert to a religion without any real holy book, such as Buddhism. Or simply argue that there is no need for any particular religion to believe in God. And you could have always pointed out that we have no idea at all how the universe has come into being, and that you cannot possibly rule out, or even suggest that it was unlikely, that a God created it, and then throw in something like “I'm sure if there is a God, he would love you, and he wouldn't want you to follow any dogma, and instead he would want you to choose your own path through life, using the Golden Rule”.

Another goal you could have had in mind is to get rid of the horrible worldview that whenever anything is wrong in the world, religious types very often say “There's nothing I can do except pray”, when they could have easily taken action. We both know that any double-blind placebo-controlled experiment will show that praying has no effect. Therefore, if we want to fix some of the tragedies in the world, we have to get across the concept that you should never expect divine intervention to fix the problem, because the number of scientifically-verifiable divine interventions in human history amount to a big fat zero. Therefore, if you want to end things like institutionalized rape in Iraq, you need to encourage people like George Bush to stop praying for miracles and to take direct action to liberate the Iraqi people. If you had done this, I wouldn't have complained.

But you didn't do that, Dawkins. You went in for the kill. Killing people's hopes and dreams. Why did you do that, Dawkins? This is akin to vandalism. You're harming people for no benefit to yourself. Quite apart from the fact that it was you that was wrong anyway. That's a lot of egg I see on your little red monkey-descended face, Dawkins. And quite apart from the fact that what little action you did take yourself – it was to oppose the liberation of 27 million people!

Chapter 9 – Dawkins and Friends

Now the real hard work begins. Almost all of Dawkins's friends are atheists. Without doubt, that's where the most intelligent people congregate. Even though they're all wrong to a man.

How much trust do you have in your friends' ability to impassionately weigh the evidence and come to the most likely conclusion, Dawkins? Surely the strong evidence (although not definitive proof) you have at hand is enough for all your atheist friends to say “well, with this new evidence that has come to light, I guess it's 80/20 in favour of an intelligent creator” as they carefully hedge their bets, making sure they allow the possibility that there really isn't a god, despite the evidence now before them?

Hah! What a joke. Dawkins immediately loses all his friends, who now somewhat despise him for tarnishing the reputation of the atheists. It's bad enough having Stalin lumped in under the atheists instead of giving him his own “secularist with a dogma” category. And now we've got the Dawkins turncoat.

The one thing they're not going to do, and will never contemplate doing, is actually hearing you out with the possibility of them having to change their worldview. They will insist that there is a scientific explanation for anything you have presented them with, without even bothering to look at or think through what you have presented them with. And if you mention your “hanging from the ceiling” experience, they will be downright angry that you are treating them as fools. Despite the fact that it's all true, and you have your story to tell. It is in fact the most interesting story you've had in your life. And you can't tell it to anyone at all. Not even a cut down version. Well, I suppose you could tell your story to the good folk at “kooks anonymous”, but the problem there is that you in turn are forced to listen to their completely fabricated stories. And let's be honest. That's worse than the all the injustice of being sent to Hellfire for not believing in any god!

I guess you could always write a website. Another possibility is to have children and bore them with your stupid stories before they've learnt sufficient words to say “Who would have believed that you would be the one full of shit, daddy?”.

Perhaps being the only person in the world who genuinely knows the truth, via direct revelation, has its downsides? Oh well, at least they no longer nail people to crosses. They just eject people from polite society instead.