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07.14.2010 – A Fine-Tuned Universe?

I find myself intrigued by the various arguments for and against God. Lately, I’ve been considering the Fine-Tuning argument (a subset of the Teleological Argument). In a nut-shell, it goes like this:

The Fine-Tuning argument is a modern variant on the overall Teleological argument and is based on the anthropic principle. The anthropic principle deals with the seemingly delicate balance of conditions that are necessary in order to support human life. It finds its evidence mostly in the vast improbabilities that the universe would find the conditions that it has in order to produce human life. And because these improbabilities are so vast, that leads to the assumption that a designer needed to be present.

I’m not going to get into the specific numbers of this argument (they are, after-all incomprehensibly large), because the refutations to those are out there to be had (basically, life DID occur in this universe, so the probability is technically negligible and there’s nothing that we know of to measure it against. ie…a universe that did NOT produce life). What I DO want to discuss, though, is MY take on it. It may not be scholarly, or based on any kind of scientific data or research, but I believe it to be based on some common sense. And, as always, I’m open to other people’s takes on the topic.

What we see in the observable universe are mind-bending amounts of empty, black space. Vast areas of absolutely nothing in the Cosmos. And in all that space and time, to the best of our limited knowledge, WE are the only life that has developed in this universe (though, I fully expect in the coming years, decades, and centuries that may change, but for the time-being I must rely on reality, and reality is, we are all we know of). My trouble with the fine-tuning argument is this: If the universe is fine-tuned for human life, why are we the ONLY human life in an unbelievably enormous universe? Doesn’t it seem like an awfully huge waste of energy and matter in the universe to have only us here, on this tiny ‘Pale Blue Dot’ in the arm of an otherwise ordinary spiral galaxy? If the universe was fine-tuned for human life, shouldn’t it be absolutely bursting at the seams with human beings? It seems that if it WAS designed, it wasn’t done so very efficiently and that doesn’t seem like the modus operandi of an all-powerful, eternal engineer.

Now, I’m obviously not a scientist. I’m not even all that smart of a guy. I get that the constants in the universe, and the coincidences in the numbers are impressive. I also understand that even the slightest changes in those numbers could have resulted in a lifeless universe. However, reality is what it is. The universe has produced intelligent life. But how many other universes are out there that are completely void of life? We will probably never know.

I’m just starting my deep investigation of these claims, so I expect that I will post more on the topic as I learn and dig into the various explanations. And a lot of times I feel like I don’t have a clue what some of these arguments are talking about. But I’m making progress, and while sometimes they give me pause, ultimately, I’m secure in my belief set.

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02.12.2010 – Happy Darwin Day

February 12, 2010 1 comment

In honor of Darwin Day, I thought that I would just post some Charles Darwin quotes that I really like. So here goes:

* We can allow satellites, planets, suns, universe, nay whole systems of universe, to be governed by laws, but the smallest insect, we wish to be created at once by special act.

* I feel most deeply that this whole question of Creation is too profound for human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton! Let each man hope and believe what he can.

* There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

* It has often and confidently been asserted, that man’s origin can never be known: Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.

Happy Birthday Charles Darwin. Today I celebrate the life of a man who we may find, ultimately, caused more change in the worldview of human kind than any other in history. At least that’s my hope. Maybe one day everyone will find the path that I found and shed superstition and replace it with reason, science, and critical thinking. Maybe one day Darwin’s theory will be so common place that the debate is finally put to rest.

Maybe one day!

01.26.2010 – Facebook Fun – Episode 3 – Young Earth Creationism

January 26, 2010 2 comments

One of my facebook friends (a hardcore fundy) posted this as her status today:

hmmm. so what are your thoughts? young earth or old earth?

So, obviously I couldn’t resist responding. It’s been pretty light-hearterd in general. Though, my mother posted a massive writing that she got from some creationist website and I countered all the arguments with links from talkorigins.org so, that wasn’t a big deal.

However, it was the latest comment from someone I don’t know that really made me scratch my head and worry about the over-all mentality of these folks:

When God created Adam he created an adult not a baby. Could he have created the earth with an age also? If he did is it old or young? At actual age of 1 day how old was Adam physically? Just some food for thought.. As for what I believe, I believe the earth is actually aprox. 6000 years old

I just am amazed at the lengths that folks will go to to justify their belief in these bronze aged myths. So now the earth was created, in it’s near present form already representing 4.5 billion years of age to anyone that would look and search to find it? I truly believe that people like this are just beyond help. I suppose if they are just living in their own little deluded world, that’s fine, but they rarely just leave it at that. It’s these kind of folks that are tyring to get stuff like this taught in the science classroom. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s wrong on many levels.