The Babel Fish Argument for the Non-Existence of God
by Douglas Adams
The Babel fish is small, yellow and leech-like, and probably
the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy received
not from its own carrier but from those around it. It absorbs all
unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish
itself with. It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic
matrix formed by combining the conscious thought frequencies with the
nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain which has
supplied them. The practical upshot of all this is that if you stick a
Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you
in any form of language. The speech patterns you actually hear decode the
brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.
Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that
anything so mindbogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that
some thinkers have chosen it to see it as a final and clinching proof of
the non-existence of God.
The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that
I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am
"But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn't it?
It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and therefore,
by your own arguments, you don't. QED."
"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly
vanishes in a puff of logic.
"Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to
prove that black is white and gets killed on the next zebra crossing.
Most leading theologians claim that this argument is a load of
dingo's kidneys, but that didn't stop Oolon Colluphid making a small
fortune when he used it as the central theme of his best-selling book
Well That About Wraps It Up For God.
Meanwhile, the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all
barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused
more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.
Altavista Babel Fish translation tool.