Saturday, December 24, 2011

Hmm ...

... The accidental universe: Science's crisis of faith—By Alan P. Lightman (Harper's Magazine). (Hat tip, Vikram Johri.)

Intelligent design ... is an answer to fine-tuning that does not appeal to most scientists. 

The point, however, is not whether one finds an explanation appealing, but whether it is the best explanation available. 
Moreover, though the article makes much of dark energy, it says nothing about dark matter, of which there is vastly more than the matter we are familiar with. If both dark energy and dark matter preponderate in being (let's use that term instead of universe), the logical inference would seem to be that a purely materialist explanation of being is impossible to arrive at, since we cannot know the nature of the matter and energy that compose most of being.

Our particular universe is one of the universes with a small value, permitting the emergence of life. We are here, so our universe must be such a universe. We are an accident. From the cosmic lottery hat containing zillions of universes, we happened to draw a universe that allowed life. But then again, if we had not drawn such a ticket, we would not be here to ponder the odds.

Well, not only would we not be here if we had not drawn the right ticket, we also wouldn't have been anywhere to draw any ticket in the first place. 
The problem I have with intelligent design theory is that the notion of God it posits seems to be that of an artificer. If there is a God, he would be a pure creator. For him, thought and being would be identical. He would not have a thought and then have to implement it (unless, of course, he wanted to; being God means being able to do whatever you want -- see Book of Job). In any event, the theist would argue that the universe is the way it is because it conforms to God's idea of it, not that he constructed it that way.

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