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The point regarding existent religions vs any religion is pretty strong and I don't think well explored by PZ. I do think that this is easily justified however by one simple observation: We are arguing with people who practice some form of existent Earth religion. In the absence of any of those existing religions, this debate wouldn't exist. In that case any being that showed up and started doing things that we, at our point in scientific development, couldn't explain, our response would certainly be to deal with that being on it's terms, whatever they might be. However, in our current religious context, every religion would busy itself trying to justify their dogma as relating to this new being or demonizing it. It would seem to me that either of those effects would render the existing religions even less well grounded in the real world and would signal the demise of any Earth religion within a generation or two. In effect, such a being would end up being even more evidence that religion as we know it is fundamentally flawed. As such, it is justified to say that the case for current theology is closed. Anything new would be just that and using our current terms, such as God, would be improper or an affectation on this new being's part.
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Nov 7, 2010