Friday, January 27, 2012

Really? That's the best you could come up with?

Sorry for such a short entry - I'm traveling today so this has to be quick - blogging from a smartphone is a challenge. 

The local newspaper, The Sarnia Observer, has published, in the Friday, January 27th edition of it's editorial, an entry (really a sales pitch for the guy's book) from an believer who argued that Hitch (Christopher Hitchens) had it wrong and science doesn't support his claims (Atheist’s faith a leap too far for science).

The complete argument that the contributor is making is that the earth and the universe is fine-tuned and that if any of the physical constants were off just slightly, we would not be here.  The only plausible reason for this author making such a horrible argument would be that he was in an area that did not permit him to have internet access (or science books) - maybe because he lives in a remote area or is incarcerated?  One simple google query for "fine tuning argument" would bring up the Wikipedia reference that has the "counter argument" and it states:

Victor Stenger argues that "... The fine-tuning argument and other recent intelligent design arguments are modern versions of God of the gaps reasoning, where a God is deemed necessary whenever science has not fully explained some phenomenon".

The argument from imperfection suggests that if the universe were designed to be fine-tuned for life, it should be the best one possible and that evidence suggests that it is not. In fact, most of the universe is highly hostile to life.

Additionally Stenger argues, "We have no reason to believe that our kind of carbon-based life is all that is possible. Furthermore, modern cosmology indicates that multiple universes may exist with different constants and laws of physics. So, it is not surprising that we live in the one suited for us. The universe is not fine-tuned to life; life is fine-tuned to the universe.

And just below it is a reference to Douglas Adams' famous "puddle thinking"...

... imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in, an interesting hole I find myself in, fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!' This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it's still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be all right, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.

Really, Tom Harpur? Is that the best you could come up with? I was able to demolish your argument while driving and blogging from a smartphone.  Sadly you'll never see this blog - if you can't get to Wikipedia or Google, you probably can't get here. 

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