It’s okay to say “I don’t know”.

Todays question comes from Tejash who asks…

I am a very rational and logical person and although i don’t tend to fall into unnecessary arguments with theists but I have two questions about two known miracles. I need an answer desperately before my strong atheism hold gets shaken. 1) It is said – and i coudn’t find any against-article on google as well – that zamzam water (well) in mecca is always flowing and its in a desert. Therefore, its a miracle. Is this actually a miracle?. and if it is then what more do we atheists need as evidence. Please give a logical explanation asap so my believe in rationalism is not shaken 2) Dead body of a pharoh (by the name ‘firon’) was found in red sea and it has not decomposed for thousands of years. Which is scientifically not possible which many muslims claim. The reason why it has not decomposed is that its God’s miracle to show what will happen to your body if you do a lot of crimes like ‘firon’ did. Please tell me how do i rationally, scientifically, and logically disprove this because I could not find anything logical in it. I hope for a positive reply. Thank you.

I’m going to disappoint you by not specifically answering the two examples you gave me. Why? Because answering them doesn’t really help you. You see, the problem is that you’re committing a logical fallacy called “Argument from ignorance”. This is when you give an answer to something that you don’t really know or understand. For example saying “I don’t know how this happened, so it must have been Billy.” is an argument from ignorance. If you don’t know how something happened, how can you attribute it to anything? So simply put, just because you don’t know how these “miracles” happened doesn’t mean that a god did them. It just means you don’t know.

And that’s the tricky thing. Humans don’t like not knowing. It’s why we’ve made so many advancements. It’s why science is always striving to understand existence. It’s our curiosity that has driven us out of the caves and into the light. However that same yearning for answers can dupe us into thinking any answer is better than none at all. Sometimes we have to be okay with saying “I don’t know” because it’s only then that we leave ourselves open to finding the answer.


9 thoughts on “It’s okay to say “I don’t know”.”

  1. Hi Tejash,

    Your rationalism is not under threat:

    Your first question is best explained to you by a hydrogeologist. Apparently they don’t think there’s anything particularly unusual about the Zamazam well. There are plenty of artesian wells and isolated waterholes in the Australian deserts too that have never gone dry even during prolonged droughts. Many local aboriginal tribal groups survived for thousands of years due to these wells and, not surprisingly, have a traditional mythology centred around many of them. Does this mean that the traditional aboriginal religions are true?

    As for the second question. Again, not at all unusual, in fact rather commonplace in some regions. e.g.,

  2. Trash – one of the great problems with holding a discussion/debate with believers (maybe THE greatest problem) is that they readily accept dogmatic claims without skepticism. You and I realize this of course, but they don’t. Since they are believers it is rather obvious that they do not cast a critical eye at things, and have almost programmed themselves to accept what they are told without verifying the matter.

    I mention this because it is unlikely that anyone that has told you the pharaoh story bothered to see how true it is. As usual, it falls to people like us to dig into it. As a skeptic (and not just on religious matters), I did dig into it. The various religious sites can’t even seem to agree on which pharaoh it is supposed to be! The ones I saw mentioned were all buried in the Valley of the Kings. I also saw references that sea salt was used during mummification, so any Egyptian mummy will have salt in and on it – in other words it didn’t have to get wet in the Red Sea for that salt to get there. There is also, of course, no evidence whatsoever for the whole Exodus story to begin with. Simply put, the pharaoh claim seems to be long on story and short on reality.

    But try telling the cultists among us that, right?

    Erick is absolutely right that it is OK to say “I don’t know”. I wish atheists would do that instead of guessing about a topic they are not knowledgable on. If we don’t know, say we don’t know. We can always research it and come back with more information later.

    Of course the believers will take “I don’t know” as proof that they are right, which is utter nonsense. That’s the frustrating part of any interaction with them. We try to have rational and logical discussions with irrational and illogical people.

    As for the Mecca well, that is hardly a miracle. There are many such wells like that. The Sahara is full of them. Just because those areas are deserts now doesn’t mean they always were. The Earth’s tilt and other factors cause the equatorial winds to move closer to and farther away from the equator over tens of thousands of years, moving the rainy and dry belts that those winds create. The Sahara used to be wet, one day it will be again. Same for Arabia. (And it does rain in those deserts, they are not devoid of precipitation). But for some people it’s just a whole lot easier to call it a miracle…..

    Good question, thanks for asking it.

  3. Tejash speaks of his “strong atheism hold” being shaken. From what he wrote I stongly suspect he is not an atheist at all, but a religious person trying to prove a point. However rediculous that point is. This is
    the biggest problem with trying to reason with anyone of religious persuasion. They simply would rather believe in the stupidity of a myth, that to investigate it’s validity and approach it from a logical standpoint.
    Another lie has been circulating on the internet for some time now about the “giants” that were created by the sons of god taking human
    women for wives. The lie, or story claims that skeletons of these giants have been found in the areas mentioned in the genisis stories of the old testament. What a crock of crap! And yet there are those who accept and believe these rediculous tales, without even checking them out.

    1. No Larry..You are absolutely wrong..u cant always say i dont know to all the things under the ‘atheism’ tag…be brave enough to face it..and who told you I havent spent hours checking it out!!!you are not an atheist cause its a religion…u r an atheist because when somebody told you ‘hey theres a flying horse behind you’, you actually looked behind, did your research and concluded ‘listen that was not a flying horse you non sensical was xyz object which can thats how athiests defend..yes if someone asks you who created the universe..then you can be ignorant by saying you dont know..but when I am asking you to help me debunk a certain point in a religious text..i need good researched points to prove my point..simple!

  4. Tejash – Regardless, I think we have demonstrated enough information here that shows that these claims by the cultists are nothing more than wishful thinking. If you need anything further please ask, but I think you have ammo for any future discussion with the believers now…

  5. Tejash….you have just wrote what i want to ask.your 2nd question is my fast and for most question.How the body of firon survived….??

  6. Naeco – The believers will say it is a miracle, but the reality is that no human corpse is going to last for thousands of years in the Red Sea. There are plenty of living organisms that would eat the carcass of a human, salt included, in a salt water environment.

    Ramses II (supposedly the Pharoah “Firon”) wasn’t found in a bog, or the Red Sea. He was found in Dier el-Bahri, on the west banks of the Nile with many other pharaohs. It’s nowhere near the Red Sea.

    There’s is no evidence for the claim. You can read on Islamic sites about the mummy, but no one can say where it was supposedly found (except “jabalian, good luck finding that on a map), or when, or who found it. Ask them for proof, and don’t be stunned if they start quoting the Quran instead of giving you that proof…

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