The Parable of the Desert Orange

Two explorers, an atheist and a theist, were out in the middle of the desert.  They happened to come across an orange sitting in the sand with nothing else around.  They found it very strange for an orange to be in the middle of nowhere, and the theist remarked, “You know, this exemplifies how my way of thinking is more logical than yours.”

“Oh?” the atheist replied.  “And just how is that?”

“You see, the logical mind observes this fruit, which has no apparent reason for being in this foreign place, and concludes that someone must have put it here.  One cannot assume that it appeared here randomly, so the obvious alternative is that someone meant for it to be here.  The same can be said of the universe, although you deny such intuitive logic.”

“Ah,” said the atheist, “quite contrarily, this is a perfect example of how my way of thinking is rational, whereas your religious mindset is intrinsically silly.  When I see this fruit, I wonder what logical series of events could have led to its arrival here.  Even if I cannot think of a perfect explanation, I will not just assume that it appeared here as the result of magic, which I likewise do not assume about the universe.”

The two bickered about the analogy for some time, arguing that the other’s rhetoric was twisting the truth.  Then, out of curiosity, they decided to examine the orange for fingerprints.  They wiped the sand off the orange and held it under a magnifying glass, turning it slowly.

“I clearly see prints on both sides,” said the theist.

“Actually,” the atheist rebutted, “the prints you see on one side appear to be from an animal, and the prints on the other are probably your own.  It seems just as probable then, if not more so, that this was carried here by natural means, not by any person.”

The two then argued for hours about what they were really seeing, and eventually they gave up on the mysterious desert orange, but only after the magnifying glass had completely scorched it.

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