Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Still in the game

Barefoot comes back with another one...

Barefoot wrote:

A life-friendly universe is not necessarily highly improbable. Rob mentions the "100-plus constants (that have to be there for life on planet earth)", but there are only 26 dimensionless parameterized constants in the Standard Model of physics (precision and factual accuracy do not seem to be Rob's strong suits), and many of them "describe the properties of the unstable strange, charmed, bottom and top quarks and mu and tau leptons which seem to play little part in the universe or the structure of matter." [Wikipedia]

Here is my response to his latest condescension:

Hello again, Barefoot.

I see another jab so I will send you to the source should you desire to check it out for yourself.

You said: "A life-friendly universe is not necessarily highly improbable. Rob mentions the "100-plus constants (that have to be there for life on planet earth)", but there are only 26 dimensionless parameterized constants in the Standard Model of physics (precision and factual accuracy do not seem to be Rob's strong suits), and many of them "describe the properties of the unstable strange, charmed, bottom and top quarks and mu and tau leptons which seem to play little part in the universe or the structure of matter." [Wikipedia]

If you get the chance, pick up Richard Dawkins book, The Blind Watchmaker and see pages 17-18 as well as 116 for detailed reference to the over 100 plus constraints."

Also, noted Astrophysicist, Hugh Ross has calculated the probability that these and other constraints--122 in all--would exist today for any planet in the universe by chance (i.e. without divine design).

Assuming there are 10 to the power of 22 (not many font options in here) planets in the universe (1 with 22 zeros following it), his answer is sobering even for a non-drinker (or "drinking liberally" -- another blogger questioning all of this). It's one chance in 10 to the power of 138.

Or, 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000! Give or take a zero.

To put this in perspective, by comparison, there are only 10 to the power of 70 atoms in the entire universe. In effect, there is a zero chance that any planet in the universe would have the life supporting conditions we have, unless there is an intelligent
designer behind it all.

Now, Larry (and fellow commentors) I really have no problem with your need to condescend. In a way I understand why you do it. But it's one thing to call me ignorant and uneducated but quite another to say that about, for instance, Nobel Laureate Arno Penzias, co-discoverer of the radiation afterglow, who said the following: "Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing and delicately balanced to provide exactly the conditions required to support life. In the absence of an absurdly-improbable accident, the observations of modern science seem to suggest an underlying, one might say, 'supernatural plan.'"

Is he just an ignorant, spoiled child ranting on about that of which he knows nothing?

If so, I have an endless list of equally moronic scholars I can give you. The question I have, however, is what difference will it make?"

4 comments:

The Celtic Chimp said...

Rob,

Do you happen to know what the odds of a 'supernatural being capable of anything at all' existing are?

Also, it should be noted that these are the odds of a planet being so well suited to the support of life as we know it. If the universal constants were otherwise then maybe life of a completely different sort would have, seemingly just as unlikey, emerged. Consider also the kind of life that exists in the darkest depths of the oceans near volcanic vents. Their particular enviornment is hostile to humans in almost every way. They are most likely unaware that life exists outside of thier own microcosm. Perhaps some wildly different forms of life share our universe too. None of this ultimately matters. There is ZERO evidence that God exists. Such complexity you say, so what. Maybe complexity is the default natural tendency of everything.

Oh and just because someone holds a Phd or wins a prize does not make them the ultimate authority on what is or is not possible. One man lacking the imagination to see how 'all this' could have come about by natuaral processes is a poor sustitute for substantive argument or evidence. The irreducable complexity argument or claims that the complexity could not have come about without a designer is just the loud declaration 'I don't understand!'

For every smart person who believes in God there is a much smarter one who doesn't. There is an undeniable trend for highly intellegent people to be Atheist. This of course is not evidence that the Atheist argument is valid but does make it frustrating when theists hold a token scientist and say 'see, smart, informed people do believe this'

I personally do not believe that an individuals intellect is the reason for their belief or lack of belief though smarter people tend to see through bullshit and contradiction easier than dumber folk. I think that belief in God stems from an inablility to cope with reality. It is a potentially scary thought that possibly no-one in the world cares if you live or die and also to think that when you die that you simply cease to exist. Much more comforting to have the most powerful being that has ever existed taking a personal interest in what you do......what I wonder are the odds of that?

MWH said...

For every smart person who believes in God there is a much smarter one who doesn't. There is an undeniable trend for highly intellegent people to be Atheist.


Based on this comment, if it's true, it appears to me that you will be joining our camp, Welcome My Brother. It is also very pleasing to see that your frustration is leading you to vulgarity and personal attacks. I'm pleased to know you have all the smart "kids" on your team, I will look so much smarter in Heaven with out all the nerds there. Good luck in your continued attempt to discredit what has withstood the most authentic assessment of all.............. "Time"
Respectfully,
MWH

Anonymous said...

"Maybe complexity is the default natural tendency of everything."

Wow- that statement is the polar opposite of "correct". Nature prefers randomness and disorder... This has proven through the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Want proof... Build a sand castle and then travel for a year. When you come back a year later what happened? Did the sand castle transform into something even more complex - like Mt. Rushmore, or did scatter like sand? When left alone everything "falls apart" it does not progress into more complexity.

"For every smart person who believes in God there is a much smarter one who doesn't."

Wow, now there is a broad generalization! That sounds like the "my-dad-is-bigger-than-you-dad" argument. Also, an argument that is both unlikely and impossible to prove.


"I think that belief in God stems from an inablility to cope with reality."

Really, is that what happened to Hitler, Stalin, or... wait they were atheist. Clearly, being mentally unstable can strike people of both sides of the religion argument. Then again look at me - I am a very successful engineer, happily married, my entire family in intact... I have no reason to "escape" reality. In fact, I would have every reason to reject my Christian beliefs and choose a more secular life. It would save me a considerable amount of time and money. However, I look at the lives of a Heath Ledger, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and wonder... is that life so attractive? Are these people content? What are they searching for? Why am I not searching for it? Who is the one searching for a way to cope with "reality"?

The secular world gives us MANY things to help escape reality... drugs, alcohol abuse, sex...you name the vice and there is someone who puhes it at the answer to your problems. The same is true about Christ... however, you will find that a life following Christ is the only one that actually "works".

The Celtic Chimp said...

Folks,

I accept the critisms of what was I must hold my hands up and admit a rant

I wouldn't expect to find much in the way of connected thought in there. I think my patience finally ran out. I think most of us need to vent now and them.

I could address the specifics in the critisisms but it wouldn't really be worth the effort given the rantish nature of the original comment.

I might wander by when I have more time and address the issues more seriously.

All the Best.