Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Two Fish

One day two fish were conversing in the ocean. The first fish said to the other “I’ve learned of something astonishing called Water. This Water is all around us, provides everything we need and we could not exist without it.” The second fish was intrigued, but skeptical and set out to learn more about this remarkable thing.
After being gone sometime, he returned to report back to the first fish. He explained, “I’ve been all over this ocean from east to west, north to south, top to bottom and I have not seen anything that remotely resembles this Water of which you speak. I’ve seen nothing that could possibly surround & support everything.” He continued, “During my long and tedious swim, I have deduced that Water is a delusion which exits only in the imagination of fish. Furthermore, belief in Water evolved as a social construct from various fish cultures to help us explain how we can swim, breath and live.” With that, the second fish swam off.
The first fish was left floating there and thought, “Wow, if a fish can’t believe in Water, how will he ever comprehend Earth, Air & Fire?”


  1. "Furthermore, belief in Water evolved as a social construct from various fish cultures to help us explain how we can swim, breath and live.”

    Two points:
    1. There are many groups of fish who believe entirely different things about what Water is, what it does, how many types of it there is, and what the purpose of it is.
    2. There is no evidence for Water other than a subjective feeling that It exists. It is not amenable to mere scientific tests and It has no objective impact on anything but can have subjective meaning and effects to believers. Which doesn't explain tides...

  2. March,
    On your first point, I’m not sure of your point. This is a hypothetical conversation between two particular fish, not a generalization for all fish.

    On your second point, not being able to prove something does not make it less real. We all believe things we cannot prove, so what do we do? We move toward what is more reasonable and step away from what is less reasonable

    Thank you for your comments and Merry Christmas.

  3. A merry Christmas to you too Ben.

    The first point was that your substitution of God for Water suggests an either there is Water or not, my point was that it's not quite so simple, many fish over the ages have suggested different properties of Water with some, perhaps most, suggesting there is more than one Water. Vast swathes of belief are ignored, i.e. the view seems to be either there exists something beyond the material or there doesn't - but if it does then it is obviously Christian (and probably Catholic). This is a view that allows you to use the fish analogy and think that it says something about Catholocism vs atheism, whereas, if the analogy held (and it doesn't) it would be at best deism vs atheism. In practical terms the difference between deism and atheism is almost zero.

    My second point was that the all-encompassing love of Christ (I assume that's what you were getting at) is completely different to the Water situation where tides, ice, salt vs fresh, erosion, underwater sand dunes, buoyancy, and the ability to swim in it are all evidence for water. The existence of water is reasonable given the evidence. In the real world the evidence for God is less substantial, hence Faith is required. To go from atheism to deism requires a little faith. To move to theism requires quite a bit. To pick a particular deity and particular religion requires enormous faith as there is no real evidence for religion A over religion B, albeit one may be more 'reasonable', plausible, or likely, than another.