Fine-tuning Foolishness: Hammering Out The Stupidity

The other day, I found myself needing to hang a wicker basket shelf in my bathroom. But the shelf was too heavy for tacks and glue, so I had to fetch a hammer and nails to do the job. After some milling around in the ever-useful “junk drawer,” I found the nails and a Stanley claw hammer dad had left at my place. I took some time to take a look at the flashy thing; it was relatively new, nearly all metal, with a duel-pronged claw on one end and the head at the other. It had a tremendously ergonomic rubber handle too, with curves and ridges along its surfaces, making it a perfect fit for the hand. I said to myself, “Now this is a well-made hammer!”

It was when the job was done that I found myself thinking of how the elements of the hammer work together so well. I thought to myself that if I didn’t know any better, I’d swear that the universe was “fine-tuned” just for the sake of producing this very useful hammer I was still holding in my hands.

Of course, I did and do know better. I understand that the handy instrument I held in my hands was indisputably designed and existed for a purpose, and before I gave it a name and was able to appreciate its worth, it existed in other, less useful forms. I realize that a “hammer” is just matter manipulated by humans into a tool to fulfill a small range of tasks.

I understand that the entire cosmos did not come to be for the sake of that practical-but-petty item known as the hammer. The universe doesn’t revolve around it. It doesn’t really matter in the cosmic scheme of things if it exists or not, and in no sense can it be said that the universe was “fine-tuned” to produce that instrument—even though the nice rubber handle whereby I held onto the hammer was designed to fit neatly into my hands, and even though the weighting was just right for swinging and tapping, and even though the shape and construction of the instrument made it ideal for the task for which we humans made it. The hammer has a place in my life, albeit a very small place.

But I also understand something else; I understand perfectly well what many Christians do not understand—that all teleological arguments (arguments based on the “intelligent design” of the universe, including the anthropic or “fine-tuning” arguments) are worthless and false. We exist like the hammer, and for most of the same reasons as the hammer; we fit nicely into our environment and we are a manipulation of matter, being made of the same stuff that the universe is composed of.

But we are also not like the hammer; we manipulate matter based on our intelligence and the hammer doesn’t, and the hammer was designed while we have no proof that we were. But we do know that we designed the hammer, and we don’t have any reason to believe that anyone designed us, and that is the central fallacy of all versions of the design argument—they just assume what they want to prove (that we and other life forms, as well as objects like houses and watches, were designed by an intelligence).

It is intellectual folly to assume that the universe was “fine-tuned” for the formation of life, just as it would be to assume that the universe was made so that a nicely crafted, shiny hammer can be built for the purpose of nailing a wicker shelf to a wall. The universe was “fine-tuned” for neither purpose. At least, if it was, there are no logical arguments or observations that lead us with any gusto to accepting that conclusion.

And we must ask the really big question here—why must a designer be posited to explain our sensory observations of the world? Does the fact that 9 or 7 cannot be divided evenly mean that there must be a Creator? Is e=mc² less true if God doesn’t exist? Can atoms not revolve around one another and have stability without a Master-designer? Would the atoms making up concrete and steal suddenly fly apart on an atomic level, or else lose their “hard” properties and become like Jello without a deity? Does the survival of fish in frozen ponds due to water freezing from the top downward mean that the universe was fine-tuned for life? Does the fact that gravity is strong enough to keep us on this planet, and yet not strong enough to liquefy us constitute proof that God made this world to house life like us? Does the fact that oxygen/nitrogen – as we have them on this planet for breathable air – instead of toxic gases, like methane and ammonia, mean that the earth must have been designed for habitation?

Robert G. Ingersoll, in his oh-so-eloquent 1872 work entitled “The Gods,” pointed out the grotesque absurdities of intelligent design thinking when he said…

“Even the advanced religionist, although disbelieving in any great amount of interference by the gods in this age of the world, still thinks that in the beginning, some god made the laws governing the universe. He believes that in consequence of these laws, a man can lift a greater weight with, than without, a lever, that this god so made matter and so established the order of things that two bodies cannot occupy the same space at the same time, so that a body once put in motion will keep moving until it is stopped, so that it is a greater distance around, than across, a circle, so that a perfect square has four equal sides, instead of five or seven. He insists that it took a direct interposition of providence to make the whole greater than a part, and that had it not been for this power superior to nature, twice one might have been more than twice two, and sticks and strings might have had only one end apiece…These religious people see nothing but design everywhere, and personal intelligent interference in everything. They insist that the universe has been created, and that the adaptation of means to ends is perfectly apparent.”

Then we must ask why God needed to even bother with awkward designs like the flawed and ridiculously concocted ones we see in nature; why, for instance, did God give us skin as protection from germs and foreign particles, and yet not make us to thrive on what we know as harmful radiation? Or, if God gave us ears to hear with, noses to smell with, eyes to see with, taste buds to taste with, and nerve cells to feel with, then why did he only give us those senses? Why not also the ability to see gamma radiation and rays of light not visible to the human eye? We see them with telescopes, we detect them with finer instruments, so why not with the eye? God was not limited in having to create cardboard creatures as flimsy as ourselves. He could have made us to exist and thrive in black holes or within the hearts of blue stars, and yet he went through the senseless trouble to create (or some would stupidly say, “evolve”) these bundles of bunions called human bodies. Words don’t describe the asininity of it.

And this is the real foolishness of the fine-tuning argument—its limited focus. Just look at how much of the universe is inhospitable to any type of life. If the universe was fine-tuned for life, why is there so little life in it? Why is most of our world trying to kill us, let alone all of space and time beyond this odorous outhouse called Earth? Not even a seedling can grow and thrive on Mars, and yet Mars is the closest to habitable planet in this solar system we have knowledge of outside of our own. This realization makes our own evolution rather unique and spits on the dumb notion that the universe has been tailor-made as an environment for the growth of carbon life forms (and even more arrogantly, for the growth of the human race, so that we may fight and quarrel and give credit to a fictitious being for its existence).

First, the universe was, and then it evolved us. Only later did theologians come along, with their suits and ties, and their hymnals and sermon notes, and their calfskin-covered New International Version Bibles, standing in their pulpits, proclaiming that the way things are is the way they had to be. When an apologist says, “the stability of atoms makes the material world possible,” that means to him that matter was fine-tuned by God Almighty on the atomic level to make all substances possible. But using this reasoning, any given order of nature that managed to bring about any type of sentient life at all would have to be considered designed, in which case teleology’s assumptions are unfalsifiable. In other words, we humans are no different than some really big, smart fish—we’re going to think that the proverbial river we are swimming in was “made” for us no matter what! And there’s no point in stopping there! We might as well say that the riverbed beneath it was intelligently designed to be just big enough for the river!

No, Mr. Theologian, the universe exists in some form or fashion with or without us. We, and our petty, self-aggrandizing perceptions of it come after it and as a result of it. We are not special and we are not wanted. Our perceptions of the cosmos are subjective and only valuable to us as tools to understand it, but those perceptions cannot be used to question reality. We can use our perceptions of metal beaten into a hammer to categorize the instrument made and give it a name, but we cannot argue that because metal can be shaped into a hammer that therefore a cosmic mind fine-tuned the universe to work together on an elemental level to make that product possible, and the same has to be true of humankind’s existence.

The flakey idea of a fine-tuned universe reminds me of an encounter with a mystic I had several years ago who insisted that apparent faces spotted in nature (such as in clouds or in natural formations like wood and sand) are evidence for the divine and man’s destined place in the grand scheme of things. Of course, we have to get booster seats for these mental midgets by correcting them: in truth, the “faces” seen in nature are only faces when homosapien brain-farts come along and call them “faces.” But until then, they are only one among many possible visible formations of matter, and nothing more.

We have no evidence – not even a smidgen of it – to believe that the universe has been finely tuned by a cosmic entity for any purpose whatsoever. But we do have minds, and as with the so-called faces showing up in nature, the minds by which we perceive and understand nature also sometimes project false images onto it. We find “evidences” for a fine-tuning God because we humans create and fine-tune things ourselves. So it should come as no surprise when uninformed people come along and assume that someone like us (but higher than us) does the same things. It’s a classic case of projection and a very humbling sign of our own cosmic level of ignorance, arrogance, and juvenility.

(JH)

32 comments:

island said...

Just look at how much of the universe is inhospitable to any type of life. If the universe was fine-tuned for life, why is there so little life in it?

Not to support the creationists position, but that's not what the anthropic physics indicates, which is probably a big clue as to why you don't have a clue about what you're talking about.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

@ Joe,

Hi,

Your post seems very limited and extremely uninformed.

You position to assume that the universe just was is just stupid.

You said,

First, the universe was,

Hmmm,

Joe, here is the problem. ALMOST EVERY CREDIBLE SCIENTIST ACKNOWLEDGES THAT THERE IS A BEGINNING TO THE UNIVERSE.

It never just was....?

This is called the big bang. (scientists came up with this.) Now your extremely provocative rhetoric will win I bet the most ill informed but this is really just mindless atheists aggression. The universe had a beginning for starters, not to mention what else is wrong with your post, most arrogance.

If your blog was more considered I would feel obliged to answer more of your rants but really my time is better suited for a more considered people on this blog like Lee or John.

Please read more or either worry about your health freaks but be more considered if you want to come at Christians [religion] as ill informed as your do, you seem well out of your depth.

regards, Rev. Phil.

ahswan said...

"We have no evidence – not even a smidgen of it – to believe that the universe has been finely tuned..."

This is simply ridiculous. If you want to believe this, in spite of the tons of evidence of apparent fine tuning, it's your choice. The evidence of apparent fine tuning is overwhelming.

Joe E. Holman said...

Island said...

"Not to support the creationists position, but that's not what the anthropic physics indicates, which is probably a big clue as to why you don't have a clue about what you're talking about."

My reply...

That is the anthropic argument. The idea that the universe was fine-tuned to house human life is just that and complete nonsense for reasons I've explained, and that was what I attacked. A universe structured around human existence is ridiculous.

But what I would like a clue about in order to have a clue about is why exactly you don't know this?

(JH)

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

"Hi,"

My reply...

Hi, "Reverend." I wonder, are you a real reverend or just a self-proclaimed internet reverend? I'm just curious.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

"Your post seems very limited and extremely uninformed."

My reply...

If I had a dime for every time I heard that from some elitist Christian dip-shit, I'd be driving a brand new Mitsubishi Raider right now!

Would you please donate to my paypal account? Please? I want a new Mitsubishi Raider!

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

"You position to assume that the universe just was is just stupid."

My reply...

Oh yes, and the idea that God "just was" is smart and proven and informed. Gotcha. Ok! My bad!

What a stupid little man you are!

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

"You said,

First, the universe was,

Hmmm,

Joe, here is the problem. ALMOST EVERY CREDIBLE SCIENTIST ACKNOWLEDGES THAT THERE IS A BEGINNING TO THE UNIVERSE."

This is called the big bang. (scientists came up with this.)


My reply...

Are you seriously this stupid, or are you just joking?

Do you really think that I'm not familiar with the big bang (or even the Steady State Theory)? Is there any possible way that I haven't heard about it and how it was the beginning of the universe? Of course I have, resource kid!

But ask your dimwitted self, "what do other atheists say to this?" Have you ever asked yourself that just once? Obviously not, it seems.

It's a challenge for you just to punctuate sentences correctly, much less understand your opponent's position. So I'll clarify our position for you--many atheists believe that the big bang was the beginning of this expansion of the universe (look up Oscillating Universe Theory). Most atheists believe that the big bang we know of is only one while others believe it was established from as-of-yet unknown principles.

I prefer to address the question from the largest dynamic--the universe, in some form, has always existed, though not from our current expansion. Don't talk to me like I'm an idiot and have never heard of Discovery Channel level cosmology, ok?

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

"It never just was....?"

My reply...

I think you mean: "It never 'just was.'"

Haven't learned to express yourself in writing yet? Aw, poor thing!

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

"Now your extremely provocative rhetoric will win I bet the most ill informed but this is really just mindless atheists aggression. The universe had a beginning for starters, not to mention what else is wrong with your post, most arrogance."

My reply...

Sad...you can't even construct a simple paragraph without sounding like a beginning WebTV user with broken English.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

"If your blog was more considered I would feel obliged to answer more of your rants"

My reply...

Now this is funny! You're saying you won't reply to my content because I'm not considered enough, meaning my audience isn't big enough, but that makes you a tremendous hypocrite because like some of those Jesus condemned, you only speak to be heard of men (Matt. 6:2-6). You don't even see the arrogance and conceitedness of your own statements. I laughed out loud from this! I really did!

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

"but really my time is better suited for a more considered people on this blog like Lee or John."

My reply...

Hey, Lee and John and good people, far more patient than I am, and they know that. If they want to take your limited intellect on, super. More power to them. It'll be funny to watch you make a fool of yourself as you are here! I'll be watching!

:-0 What will you do? :-0

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

"Please read more or either worry about your health freaks but be more considered if you want to come at Christians [religion] as ill informed as your do, you seem well out of your depth.

regards, Rev. Phil."


My reply...

You know what, "Reverend" Phil? I was an actual minister, so I don't need to do the reading here. You obviously do, but don't start with an apologetics manual or an atheist book. Get a Harbrace College Writing Handbook and then get back to me, ok little grunt?

(JH)

Joe E. Holman said...

ahswan said...

"This is simply ridiculous. If you want to believe this, in spite of the tons of evidence of apparent fine tuning, it's your choice. The evidence of apparent fine tuning is overwhelming."

My reply...

Yeah, you're right. It's much more logical to have an all-powerful being who just exists with no explanation at all. That's much more logical.

And it is you, douche-tard, who wants to go the extra step of believing that a ghost made the world. My position requires one less step. It is you who choose to believe in idiocy. And of course, you made no attempt to reply to anything I said. What could that mean, I wonder?

And since when is it someone's choice to believe something true or false? Can you choose to believe in Santa Claus?

(JH)

Reverend Phillip Brown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reverend Phillip Brown said...

Hi Joe,

Wow, looks like I picked at a wound. You seem to be a little angry.

Lets go for it shall we?

You said,

Hi, "Reverend." I wonder, are you a real reverend or just a self-proclaimed internet reverend? I'm just curious.

My Reply,

I'm a Reverend in the real world.

You said,

some elitist Christian dip-shit,

My Reply,

No need to get nasty, this is a little unbecoming.

You said,

Oh yes, and the idea that God "just was" is smart and proven and informed. Gotcha. Ok! My bad!

My Reply,

Oh, I see you cannot disprove what I said so you attack my apparent belief. I think there is a pattern here.

You said,

What a stupid little man you are

My reply,

What a angry man you are. Have you considered counseling?

You said,

Do you really think that I'm not familiar with the big bang (or even the Steady State Theory)? Is there any possible way that I haven't heard about it and how it was the beginning of the universe? Of course I have, resource kid!

My Reply,

Again another name calling instance... Are we in the 6th grade?

Clearly you do not believe in the 'steady state' theory because as you seem to profess, both the primordial nucleosynthesis of the light elements and the microwave background radiation have shown this to be false.

You said

I prefer to address the question from the largest dynamic--the universe, in some form, has always existed, though not from our current expansion. Don't talk to me like I'm an idiot and have never heard of Discovery Channel level cosmology, ok?

My reply,

Firstly, your Oscillating Universe Theory fails to demonstrate in any known physics which would cause the universe to 'bounce back.' Secondly, attempts to observe the mass density sufficient to generate the gravitational attraction required to halt the reverse expansion have failed. There is just no evidence. But again, can you answer the question.

Nice try.

You said,

I think you mean: "It never 'just was.'"

Well no. The purpose of the repetition of full stops and the question mark at the end was to show that the whole facts in your blog were in doubt. To use quotations marks to label the emphasis is your interpretation of what I am trying to say. The appropriateness of your entire blog is in question not the 'just was' part. Surly you know the question mark can be used other than to ask a question? [This is a question]
You seem to profess great knowledge of grammar why are you making elementary mistakes? [This is a question also]

You said,

Haven't learned to express yourself in writing yet? Aw, poor thing!

My Reply,

No I'm fine, maybe you should re-look at your grammar.

You said,

Hey, Lee and John and good people, far more patient than I am, and they know that. If they want to take your limited intellect on, super. More power to them. It'll be funny to watch you make a fool of yourself as you are here! I'll be watching!

My Reply,

You dont have to wait. Check out my work previously with Lee here. I hope you find it funny?

http://christianityversusatheism.blogspot.com/search/label/Dialogue%20with%20Atheists

Well Joe, I hope you can answer my questions, I doubt it though, but I'm sure you have some other colorful names you can call me. Is that all you have Joe? [This is a question] A little childless don't you think? [This is a question]

Regards, Rev. Phil.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

Joe,

The link is not printing out on the comment strand entirely.

visit
http://christianityversusatheism.blogspot.com/

And go to the dialogue with atheists label to see my dialogue with Lee.

Cannot wait to here what you have to say other than name calling.

Regards, Rev. Phil.

island said...

That is the anthropic argument. The idea that the universe was fine-tuned to house human life is just that and complete nonsense for reasons I've explained, and that was what I attacked. A universe structured around human existence is ridiculous.

But what I would like a clue about in order to have a clue about is why exactly you don't know this?


Because, what you said in the first place, *isn't* the creationist's argument, since creationists are typically geocentric, and don't claim that the rest of the universe should be hospitable to life.

Just look at how much of the universe is inhospitable to any type of life. If the universe was fine-tuned for life, why is there so little life in it?

You've now changed the meaning of your statement to something that IS more in line with the creationist's belief, so get your act together and say what you mean in the first place.

But you also act like you've decided that the universe isn't fine-tuned "for life" because you simply don't believe it, because you know that there is no god, and not because you know any of the reasons why the creationists say it.

Well, I've got a little news for ya, kiddo... you're argument is pathetic and as lame as a one legged duck.

In fact, the "fine-tuning problem" in physics is so serious that it has literally stopped progress in the field dead in its tracks for the last thirty years, forcing theorists to reach for "bolder explanations" that have to abandon causality and first principles in order to come up with anything remotely plausible that might explain it:

Is Our Universe Natural?
http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0512148

This problem is so vexing that its has caused some physicists, like David Gross, to say that this kind of rationale isn't even scince, rather, it is the 'biggest failure of physics in the last twenty years'.

The *OBSERVED* physics is so logical and pointed that it has caused physicists, like agnostic, Paul Davies to say that it "looks like a fix", and atheist physicistt, and "the father of string theory", Lenny Susskind, to say that "we will be hard pressed to answer the IDists" if there isn't an ***unobservable*** multiverse, to lose the very apparent carbon-oriented significance of the fine-tuning problem.

http://discovermagazine.com/2008/dec/10-sciences-alternative-to-an-intelligent-creator

Your rambling retooling of Douglas Adams analogy doesn't come anywhere closer to agreeing with the observation than Adams did, and the best that you can hope for is a disagreement among reputable atheists physicists over just how fine-tuned for life the universe actually is, but if I were a creationist, (which, I am not), then I'd laugh straight in the face of anybody that thinks that some theoretically speculative and unboservable "multiverse" is more plausible than exactly what it looks like.

"The "appearance" of design is undeniable..." therefore we whorship an equally unobservable multiverse'
-Lenny Susskind
-Steven Weinberg
-Richard Dawkins
-etceteras...

Not to mention what your inclination for denying the significance of the observation does to plausible natural scientific solutions to the problem that are based on first principles, (like science is supposed to be done), that derive a dynamic biocentrically oriented cosmological structure principle.

Your clueless and you don't care what you do to science as long as you can fight your ideologically motivated culture war, so you're no different, no better, and no more honest than them.

But don't feel too bad because you're far from alone, and your propensity to change what you said is also highly telling.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi rev,
thanks for the compliments
I went back and read what you have available of our dialog.

I didn't realize I was so "crabby" with you. I have to admit, you do test an atheists patience.
;-)
But I promise I'll do better to try to be more nurturing towards Theists in the future.
;-)

Lee Randolph said...

Hi all you theists,
maybe joe is not an expert in cosmology, but you don't have to be an expert to see that the "anthropic principle" or whatever is pure ad hoc reasoning. On both sides, any claim at knowledge about the origin of the universe is inherently defeasible because no-one has the physics of the universe in the bag yet.

But here's an example of ad hoc reasoning analogous to the anthropic principle.

that hole filled with water in my street is just the right size and shape for all that water, therefore it must have been created for it.

even augustines argument for first cause is just a slippery slope based on premises that depended on things he didn't understand. Things have properties that interact that cause other things to 'emerge' that are counter intuitive. Look at how to make a battery in the kitchen. Who would have guessed that putting two metals together in salt water would cause an electric charge?

Its not supernatural, its emergent properties, and lack of information.

Where are all the candies going in from jar on my desk? Angels? Devils? Goblins? I don't know, so it must be something supernatural.

zilch said...

Hey Joe- an observation that might be apposite:

Claw hammers are American. Here in Austria, hammers almost always have one flat face for driving nails, and a wedge-shaped end for prying with. Nails are pulled with a separate tool, built like a hefty end cutter. In just the same way, we are not yet in a position to say what conditions are necessary for the development of life: all we have are claw hammers to look at, and we are not able to rule out other systems.

About fine tuning: all I know is that my friend John, who is a professor of astrophysics, says that we still don't know enough about what is physically possible to say that the apparent fine tuning is not an artifact of necessary relationships between forces.

In any case, the God hypothesis does not help: it posits yet more order to explain order. Asked to explain the existence of God, believers invoke either magic, mystery, or word games. But I can play that game too: I say there's no God, and the Universe just appeared magically. This explanation is just as logical as that of believers, and a great deal simpler.

Joe E. Holman said...

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

"Wow, looks like I picked at a wound. You seem to be a little angry."


My reply...

Yeah, a little. We vocal atheists get emails all the time from elitist believers who go the "you have no evidence" route and insist (like you do) that they've got Jeebus physics in the bag. You don't, but you act like you do.

So yeah, I get sick of the attitude behind someone who is so sure that they've got the universe's temporal mechanics figured out down to a science, a "God" science no less.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

"Lets go for it shall we?"


My reply...

Now wait a minute...what happened to "your blog's not big enough...you don't have enough viewers for the likes of an internet hotshot like me to respond to"?

Have you changed positions? Are you that unsure of the things you say? Or is it as I suspected, that you are an elitist who loves to talk tall, and so you said what you you said out of typical Christian snobbery? I think the latter!

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

"I'm a Reverend in the real world."


My reply...

Excellent! So at least you can claim that your posts exhibit some truth in that they call you "reverend."

I'm down with that!

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

"No need to get nasty, this is a little unbecoming."


My reply...

Cut the fun out of my work now, why don't ya!!!

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

"Oh, I see you cannot disprove what I said so you attack my apparent belief. I think there is a pattern here."


My reply...

Atheism isn't "disproving" anything, challenged one. Theism is fundamentally unfalsifiable. That's the problem with your reasoning. By throwing your own statement back at you, I'm demonstrating that the fallacy you THINK we are guilty of, you yourself are guilty of.

Atheism, reverend, only exists as the default position when theism fails. It doesn't exist as an affirmative, self-supported belief. We can't "prove" that atheism is true anymore than we can prove green monkeys don't exist, and yet we have no evidence to believe that they do. The same is true of God and so-called creation. You should know this if you've been having dialogue with atheists this long.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

"What a angry man you are."


My reply...

True. Damn, you have sharp retorts! Teach me, Master!

And "a angry man"??? Is that a new rule of grammar I'm not familiar with?

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

"Again another name calling instance...Are we in the 6th grade?"


My reply...

I asked you a question: do you think I haven't heard of the big bang and SST? Please answer. Of course, I have, and you should know that, and yet you addressed me like some idiot who hasn't heard of something that every Episcopalian soccer mom of 3 kids who drives a Toyota Sienna knows, so your condescending reply was the escalating factor here. It would be like me confronting you in an argument with "When it clouds, sometimes it rains." Yeah, you know that already, so you'd be insulted.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

"Clearly you do not believe in the 'steady state' theory because as you seem to profess, both the primordial nucleosynthesis of the light elements and the microwave background radiation have shown this to be false.


My reply...

There is lots of conjecture on the Brane Theory and other hypothesis' of pre-big bang thinking and you should know that there is still debate on a "time before time." This doesn't begin to explain your ridiculous and intelligence-insulting opening remarks about why you'd suggest that I hadn't heard of the Big Bang.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

"Firstly, your Oscillating Universe Theory fails to demonstrate in any known physics which would cause the universe to 'bounce back.' Secondly, attempts to observe the mass density sufficient to generate the gravitational attraction required to halt the reverse expansion have failed. There is just no evidence. But again, can you answer the question."


My reply...

Shut the hell up! You've had too much coffee! You don't know what you're talking about!

As Lee stated, no one's got the goods on the physics here, and as someone who has looked into this, don't tell me that anyone does. Save for the Big Bang event itself, we know very, very little of universal origins. That is a hard and fast fact, so giving me current Freeman Dyson applied physics won't help your case. We just don't know enough, and science is still too young to render a verdict on these issues.

But one thing we can render a verdict on is that a ghost did not make the machine. The universe is not a product of a ghost, a supernatural entity. Regardless of what one believes about the Big Bang, the idea that a ghost made it is out of harmony with logic and common sense. So none of this helps you.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

"Well no. The purpose of the repetition of full stops and the question mark at the end was to show that the whole facts in your blog were in doubt. To use quotations marks to label the emphasis is your interpretation of what I am trying to say. The appropriateness of your entire blog is in question not the 'just was' part. Surly you know the question mark can be used other than to ask a question? [This is a question]
You seem to profess great knowledge of grammar why are you making elementary mistakes? [This is a question also]


My reply...

Huuuuuuhhhh????????

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

No I'm fine, maybe you should re-look at your grammar.


My reply...

Aw, ok; will it make you feel better if I do? Then I will!

Now close your eyes and rest.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

"You dont have to wait. Check out my work previously with Lee here. I hope you find it funny?

http://christianityversusatheism.blogspot.com/search/label/Dialogue%20with%20Atheists
"


My reply...

Nice to have. Thanks. But I think we're doing just fine right here with you showing yourself a blithering fool before us all. I think that's enough for one day.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

Well Joe, I hope you can answer my questions, I doubt it though


My reply...

I'll try, but will you hold my hand as I do?

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

, but I'm sure you have some other colorful names you can call me. Is that all you have Joe? [This is a question]


My reply...

No, I have some change too. Not enough to buy a fountain drink, but enough to donate to Jerry's Kids. Any relation?

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

"A little childless don't you think? [This is a question]


Hey, what'd you expect! I still play with toys! :-)

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

"Regards, Rev. Phil."


My reply...

Thank you, Rev. Phil!

(JH)

Joe E. Holman said...

island said...

"Your clueless and you don't care what you do to science as long as you can fight your ideologically motivated culture war, so you're no different, no better, and no more honest than them.

But don't feel too bad because you're far from alone, and your propensity to change what you said is also highly telling.


Stop hiding behind the ethos of the matter and explain what I had to say. The beauty of this is that one need not be a physicist to see that the idea of a "fine-tuned" universe is as stupid as the musings of a retarded termite.

My question was valid; if the universe was fine-tuned for life, why isn't there more life? Why would a creator intend and make the ingredients for one measily little planet to be formed out in the midst of desolation in a cold and lifeless cosmos? Isn't it easier to say that we are the exception, the rarity in a chaos-driven pinball game of the elements? Of course, it is.

Are you deluded enough to believe that stars and nebulae and all space phenomenon were created so that some shitbags on a blue ball could praise their spook? Do you expect me to believe that the Sombrero Galaxy was masterminded by an intelligence for OUR sakes? You think that just because life can pop up that it was intended to? You are an idiot of idiots if you think so. But that's what Fine-tuning gets down to.

The central objection to the Anthropic Argument is the reverse engineering problem--why must a believer back-step and figure out how things were done instead of moving forward, positing a universe that is better fitted to house life? That was the question of my post. It is a perfectly valid question and it undercuts the stupidity of the claim. Fine-tuning is no different than old style creationism, when push comes to shove.

You seem to think that NASA and scientists are stopped, scratching their heads in bewilderment because water freezes from the top down or atoms don't fly apart. That's nonsense, plain and simple. Why do you think the scientific community has rejected ID and largely moved away from belief in a deity? It isn't because they are stumped, being confronted with major problems for naturalism.

If I take a handful of pennies and throw them up in the air and observe the order in which they land, I can then backtrack and discover the exact conditions that were required to bring about the observed order, but that doesn't prove that the observed order was intended, does it? No, it's just a reverse engineering attempt at understanding it.

It is not I who am the idealist, but you, you who seek to find human significance in your world. That's what drives your study of cosmology and everything else. Pity you can't study and treasure science strictly because of its own intrinsic value!

(JH)

island said...

Bla bla bla... while willfully ignoring the authoritative examples and the testimony of expert physicists who disagree with your lame rationale.

In point of fact, the relevant anthropic physics isn't strictly geocentric, because the same conditions also apply to other galaxy systems that are similarly evolved, time and location-wise, as ours is:

http://zebu.uoregon.edu/~imamura/209/mar31/anthropic.html

The Goldilocks Enigma constrains the parameters to a balance of extremes... so the physics only applies to the ecosphere of galaxies that formed on the same evolutionary time/location "plane" as we did. Planets orbiting stars in galaxies that are too old or too new, too large or too small, do not fit the "coincidentally balanced" nature as the average of extremes... etc... etc... ect... all the way down to the local ecobalances of the ones that do, and life will only arise on planets in galaxies, (and universes), where ALL of the anthropic coincidences are simultaneously in effect.

Unfortunately, there has been a strong and not always subconscious tendency to extend this to a most questionable dogma to the effect that our situation cannot be privileged in any sense.
-Brandon Carter

Congratulations, you win today's Carter award for willful ignorance of the relevant facts.

Have a nice fantasy, zealot.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

He Lee,

No Worries,

Reverend Phil.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

Hey Joe,


You said,

So yeah, I get sick of the attitude behind someone who is so sure that they've got the universe's temporal mechanics figured out down to a science, a "God" science no less.

My Reply,

Sure I can understand your anger, personally I get angry when it appears atheists just do the same and mouth off that science proves a natural philosophy over and against christianity. Forgive me but it seriously looked like that is what you were doing and maybe still am. I get pretty embarrassed when I here Christian's mouth of with no investigation into what they are saying so your anger I can understand, though I'm not sure I want to excuse it.

You said,

you don't have enough viewers for the likes of an internet hotshot like me to respond to"?

My reply,

I'm not sure I said that? What do you mean?

You said,

Or is it as I suspected, that you are an elitist who loves to talk tall, and so you said what you you said out of typical Christian snobbery? I think the latter!

My Reply,

My comments should answer the question.

You said,

Cut the fun out of my work now, why don't ya!!!

My Reply,

Nice, but seriously you were angry this was not a friendly jibe.

You said,

Theism is fundamentally unfalsifiable.

My reply,

Perhaps, maybe, however I will pertain to Christianity and not theism, which makes specific claims about creation and specific historic claims about Jesus Christ. These things happily place their head on the chopping block for the atheists, so swing away at Christianity if that will make you happy.

You said,

And "a angry man"??? Is that a new rule of grammar I'm not familiar with?

My Reply,

Sure 'an angry man.' There can we calm down now, and proceed to the content?

You said,

I asked you a question: do you think I haven't heard of the big bang and SST

My reply,

I did in the comments.

You said,

There is lots of conjecture on the Brane Theory and other hypothesis' of pre-big bang thinking and you should know that there is still debate on a "time before time." This doesn't begin to explain your ridiculous and intelligence-insulting opening remarks about why you'd suggest that I hadn't heard of the Big Bang.

My reply,

No Joe, you are the one that needs to explain yourself here. Lets look at your logic here.

(1) My original claims to your 'steady state' (happy) model of the universe is answered by you with conjecture on the subject. This is not an answer. There is conjecture on almost everything.

(2) The 'current' debate on "time before time" has really been solved. The only two possible ways to solve the 'time before time' problem is to either...

(a) postulate an expression of primordial vacuum itself, which Isham has showed at Oxford really puts it back at the original problem or

(b) Show how the imaginary quantities for time before the 'Big Bang' should be regarded realistically or instrumentally. One must show how the numbers postulated in 'time before time' demonstrate ontological significance rather than just mere mathematical devices.

Joe you fail to enter into these discussions but just rant that they are out there. If anyone is looking stupid it is you. Hey, you say, the universe 'just was' but fail to embark on any other of the relevant material against such a position. Your arrogance was called and it still is.

You said,

Shut the hell up! You've had too much coffee! You don't know what you're talking about!

My reply,

What?

You said,

As Lee stated, no one's got the goods on the physics here, and as someone who has looked into this, don't tell me that anyone does. Save for the Big Bang event itself, we know very, very little of universal origins. That is a hard and fast fact, so giving me current Freeman Dyson applied physics won't help your case. We just don't know enough, and science is still too young to render a verdict on these issues.

My reply,

So here is your logic again. I'll make it easy for you to follow.

(1) You claimed in your blog entry the universe 'just was'.
(2) I responded by stating, no scientists call this a 'Big Bang'.
(3) You call me stupid and a little grunt objecting you had of course heard about such matters and then Suggest I look into the 'Steady State Theory' or the 'Oscillating Universe Theory'.
(4) I respond again with massive problems for both models.
(5) You ask me to 'shut up' because no one has the dibs on the 'Big Bang' and science is too young to render a verdict.

So what you are actually saying is that science cannot make a verdict on whether the universe has a beginning or not, meaning your original comment about the universe 'just was' is just a unsupported opinion by your own omissions.

So really your blog should be titled 'Fine-tuning Foolishness: Hammering Out The Stupidity; with no support for my claims and just unfounded opinions about the origin of the universe. Correct?

You said,

But one thing we can render a verdict on is that a ghost did not make the machine. The universe is not a product of a ghost, a supernatural entity. Regardless of what one believes about the Big Bang, the idea that a ghost made it is out of harmony with logic and common sense. So none of this helps you.

My Reply,

Well lets just do one thing at a time shall we. I don't think a 'ghost' made any machines either. But if we establish an origin to the universe then I'm happy to talk about the first cause of that origin.

You said,

Nice to have. Thanks. But I think we're doing just fine right here with you showing yourself a blithering fool before us all. I think that's enough for one day.

My Reply,

Please show me were you think I am 'showing myself to be a blithering fool?'

You said,

I'll try, but will you hold my hand as I do

My Reply,

I'm trying but you rhetoric is getting in the way.

You said,

Hey, what'd you expect! I still play with toys! :- )

My Reply,

Best response all comment strand.

Regards, Rev. Phil.

Joe E. Holman said...

You know something, Verbal IQ Man?

Once I smell frustration in an argument, I'm like a shark on blood, and you have just passed that threshold! :-B

island said...

"Bla bla bla... while willfully ignoring the authoritative examples and the testimony of expert physicists who disagree with your lame rationale."


My reply...

I wasn't ignoring them, but you don't seem to see that the conclusion that the universe was fine-tuned is itself a dogma, not science. Quoting me professors (whom I've read before, btw) who subscribe to a form of "intelegunt desine" isn't going to impress me. Your conclusions (and theirs) are idealistic in nature.

You and Dinesh and Behe and the others who insist on reverse engineering the creator into his role are doing nothing but making fools of yourselves. You have yet to cite one positive example of something or a combination of things being "fine-tuned" for life, let alone answer my objections in the article.

But of course, you can't; you can't give an example of fine-tuning because that notion is fictitious; it exists only in the minds of those like yourself who have an agenda. The moment you try to give something as an example of fine-tuning, we atheists are going to laugh in your face and say, "Nope, that's the natural order. Why must there be a creator for x relationship or arrangement to be?"

When all is said and done, you are just like those of whom Robert Ingersoll spoke, who stupidly insist that it takes a direct interposition of providence to account for the tangibles of our universe.

island said...

"In point of fact, the relevant anthropic physics isn't strictly geocentric, because the same conditions also apply to other galaxy systems that are similarly evolved, time and location-wise, as ours is:

http://zebu.uoregon.edu/~imamura/209/mar31/anthropic.html

The Goldilocks Enigma constrains the parameters to a balance of extremes... so the physics only applies to the ecosphere of galaxies that formed on the same evolutionary time/location "plane" as we did. Planets orbiting stars in galaxies that are too old or too new, too large or too small, do not fit the "coincidentally balanced" nature as the average of extremes... etc... etc... ect... all the way down to the local ecobalances of the ones that do, and life will only arise on planets in galaxies, (and universes), where ALL of the anthropic coincidences are simultaneously in effect."


My reply...

Yes, that's apparent, Genius, but the question is why (in addition to why the Creator would use clumsy evolution to direct his superior design) we have solar systems, if not whole galaxies without a smidgen of life on them.

For every evolving world with life on it, we have no doubt trillions or more of dead, worthless, useless matter--matter that is only a danger to intelligent life (i.e. asteroids). A smart individual finds a problem there (but it's ok. I know that doesn't include you).

How many signals from other worlds have we received or intercepted? None, nada, none at all, and yet you would have me believe that the great "I Am" operates in the haphazard fashion of throwing near-limitless tons of the raw materials for life out there, and then sits around, or perhaps sort of directs the process from outside to finally get what he wants after eons by way of "design"?

Man, if you believe that, you're just stupid. Sorry. There's no other way to put it. It's stupid enough to believe that God evolved a shit-throwing ape into an "ensouled" being, but this pinball evolution design stuff has got to stop.

So please, find some cyanide tablets and take them immediately, okay? You'll be doing the world a favor. Oh, but before that, if you don't have any offspring who have already reproduced, round 'em up and take them with you. You can hide the tablets in pieces of candy so that the little sluggers won't notice. If they take it on an empty stomach, they won't even know what hit 'em.

island said...

Congratulations, you win today's Carter award for willful ignorance of the relevant facts."


My reply...

From you, sir, ANY award is an honor! Thank you!!!

island said...

"Have a nice fantasy,"


My reply...

Nice fantasy? Um, I hate to point this out, but believing that an invisible man made everything and yet he himself always existed and hears your every prayer is a fantasy, pal. Maybe you don't believe that, but if you do, and you talk to invisible beings who aren't there, that makes you a certifiable nut-job, friend.

Now if you want, I can swing by your place and give you a ride to the state hospital, but then again, they may be full. So let's go ahead and go with the cyanide plan, ok?

island said...

"zealot"


My reply...

There, there now...I know it's tough trying to fight for respect in a scientific community where belief in ghosts is looked down upon. But no need to call me a zealot. I'm not the one fighting to win the respect of the sensible and true lovers of science. You, however, certainly are because your warped version of science entails a desertion of science for a science-God combo. I really am sorry you have no respect for science, but don't throw that on me.

So, remember...CYANIDE! I'll never ask anything else from you again!

(JH)

Joe E. Holman said...

Rev. Phil, I'm glad you have beliefs that you hold to. I really am. I once believed similar things. But you seem to think that just because a going theory seems irrefutable that it must be. That's sophomoric naivety and it is often found in college students. I find it most annoying and I haven't the time or the inclination to contend with it.

And I don't debate cosmology. I don't need to. Simple reasoning will eliminate the idea of a god behind the big bang (Big Bang is science, God-induced Big Bang is not).

We are here, so something always was (is eternal), be that the universe (aka, matter in all and every possible form) or a deity. I choose to stay with what I KNOW exists--matter. You choose to go with a deity that you don't know exists. The problem is, we are both going to run out of answers for our contentions at some point, so why not stop with what we KNOW exists (matter)? So we have no reason to deny the big bang, but we do have reason to at least deny that the big bang was God-directed or that a God always existed prior to that.

That's what this comes down to, and if that doesn't help you, then I can't help you. I'm not going to pursue a discussion with you. But thanks for playing.

(JH)

nearenough said...

The universe is fine tuned for life. OK. May I suggest a pair of cement shoes for the proponent of this idea and subsequent placement in any deep ocean, with careful follow-up to see how the fine tuning idea works out.

Another question. Does the fine tuning claim require a fine tuner? If so what is it? I say it's nothing more than the middle eastern desert god that looks like a sky man. Yawn. How did a man get to design a universe 13.7 billion years before man even evolved? In other words the "fine tuning" argument is a smokescreen for a anthropomorphic God caim, just as "intelligent design" is a substitute for know-nothing creationism.

Now if the fine tuner God isn't a man, what is it exactly? Believers should be able to describe it completely and provide the evidence for it.

Mark Plus said...

Reverend Phillip Brown writes:
"ALMOST EVERY CREDIBLE SCIENTIST ACKNOWLEDGES THAT THERE IS A BEGINNING TO THE UNIVERSE."

I guess you mean the Big Bang (BB). But the BB doesn't refer to the "beginning" of the observable universe (OU). It refers to a line of scientific reasoning about the earliest state of the OU we can currently make inferences about. It doesn't follow that the OU "began" at the BB.

In other words, for reasons of parsimony we have to say that we've apparently reached a knowledge barrier about the history of the OU at the BB. It adds an additional and currently untestable claim to say that the OU "began" at the BB.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reverend Phillip Brown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reverend Phillip Brown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reverend Phillip Brown said...

Hey Joe,

You said,

And I don't debate cosmology. I don't need to. Simple reasoning will eliminate the idea of a god behind the big bang (Big Bang is science, God-induced Big Bang is not).

My reply,

Thanks Joe, So what you mean is you cannot back up that fact that the universe had a beginning? Clearly you cannot?

I thought so, please refer to my original post, you know the one where you called me a grunt? So you admit you are wrong like I suggested?

You said,

We are here, so something always was (is eternal), be that the universe (aka, matter in all and every possible form) or a deity. I choose to stay with what I KNOW exists--matter.

My reply,

How do you know Joe? Because you feel it?

You said,

You choose to go with a deity that you don't know exists.

My reply,

Hmmm, Well you cannot prove it can you? You just rely on nothing but rhetoric.

You said,

The problem is, we are both going to run out of answers for our contentions at some point, so why not stop with what we KNOW exists (matter)? So we have no reason to deny the big bang, but we do have reason to at least deny that the big bang was God-directed or that a God always existed prior to that.

My Reply,

Joe. You have failed at every account. You last bit of some sense or credibility is to say hey, lets assume that the big band was... Something you originally denied. So I assume my original comment was correct to your post as I said primarily . Something denied and attacked me for. Joe it seems you have no idea about ANYTHING! As I suggested in the beginning. So thanks for playing and I'll correct you next time you post. You can call me any time you want. Cheers.


You said,

That's what this comes down to, and if that doesn't help you, then I can't help you. I'm not going to pursue a discussion with you. But thanks for playing.


My reply,

No Joe, what it comes down to is what you said in your blog.

I have burnt you, you have failed on every account, you have been arrogant, and defamed me, you have not answered, you cannot even dialogue with me or answer my questions. So thanks for nothing.

Clearly Joe you are so far out of your league as I suggested originally you cannot even respond.

I think I will post these comment strands on my blog as a case of what not to do as a atheists. Cheers,

Regards Rev Phil.

@ Mark Plus

You said,

I guess you mean the Big Bang (BB). But the BB doesn't refer to the "beginning" of the observable universe (OU). It refers to a line of scientific reasoning about the earliest state of the OU we can currently make inferences about. It doesn't follow that the OU "began" at the BB.

My Reply,

Sure but where is your evidence?

You said,

In other words, for reasons of parsimony we have to say that we've apparently reached a knowledge barrier about the history of the OU at the BB. It adds an additional and currently untestable claim to say that the OU "began" at the BB.

My Reply,

Loverly,

But why do you think it began?

Regards, Rev. Phil.

custador said...

Good post, but one point: Nine can be easily divide by three, it's square root. 10/10 for applied theology, 0/10 for math ;)

Joe E. Holman said...

custador said...

"Good post, but one point: Nine can be easily divide by three, it's square root. 10/10 for applied theology, 0/10 for math ;)"

My reply...

:O ROFL! I stand corrected! :)

I meant divided in half, but heck, it can be divided down, like you said.

I totally suck at math and I got totally no problem admitting it!

:p

Thanks!

(JH)

Joe E. Holman said...

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

Thanks Joe, So what you mean is you cannot back up that fact that the universe had a beginning? Clearly you cannot?


My reply...

I don't have to. I know that we and matter exist, so something always was. I say that it's matter that always was (in some form prior to this universe). Yes, this universe had a beginning. We know that, but what we don't know (and what you can't prove) is that there wasn't matter and existence prior to the big bang. Your contention that there is a god (some form of prior existence before the universe) is itself a refutation of your own words on a conceptual level.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

How do you know Joe? Because you feel it?


My reply...

Um, yes. I know matter exists the same way I know that anything else does. It's tangible data, so I call it knowledge--a thing you DON'T have of your god, btw. You just believe in him without solid evidence.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

Hmmm, Well you cannot prove it can you? You just rely on nothing but rhetoric.


My reply...

What? Prove what? That I choose to stay with matter, or that you choose to go with a deity that you don't know exists?

I know both; I know what I choose, and we both know that you don't know that your deity exists. You might believe it, but you don't know it. If you KNEW he existed, then his existence would be incontrovertible because he'd be tangible, and we wouldn't be having this discussion. You do admit that your convictions are open to falsification, don't you? If not, then I, nor any other atheist has any chance of convincing you of our position, in which case, it is futile to talk to you.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

Joe. You have failed at every account. You last bit of some sense or credibility is to say hey, lets assume that the big band was... Something you originally denied. So I assume my original comment was correct to your post as I said primarily . Something denied and attacked me for.


My reply...

No, cheese dick, I never denied that the big bang occurred! In your first post, you told me that the big bang was the origin of the universe. I told you I knew that, but that I didn't think it was the beginning of all matter and space-time.

Science tells us that the big bang was, but what it doesn't tell us is your fine-tuning nonsense. That's what you want it to say and it doesn't. So, back to the initial point, we exist, the big bang happened. We are here, but beyond that, we don't know too much. In the absense of all the answers, I choose to stay with matter and posit it as the origin of the cosmos. You go the extra (illogical) step of saying God exists and he created space-time and all of existence in the big bang. I deny the latter premise, but not the former. I've never denied the big bang, stupid. But I deny and oppose your hijacking the event to put your god as the cause of it.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

Joe it seems you have no idea about ANYTHING! As I suggested in the beginning. So thanks for playing and I'll correct you next time you post. You can call me any time you want. Cheers.


If it pleases you to think that, then by all means think it. You won't be the first. You're a snot who claims to have an inside line to knowledge and science. Think that too if you want. But even if you do (which I don't believe), this is a question of reasoning, not science. Science doesn't prove the existence of ghosts, and you can't hijack it the way you try to.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

No Joe, what it comes down to is what you said in your blog.

I have burnt you, you have failed on every account, you have been arrogant, and defamed me, you have not answered, you cannot even dialogue with me or answer my questions. So thanks for nothing.


My reply...

You see, you say you are a minister, but I don't know that. Saying you "burnt" me makes you seem like a 22-year-old Campus Crusade for Christ-er who thinks that because he's had a few astronomy and cosmology courses that he's got the answers, and that everything is about "winning" debates. That's childish and very sophomoric. I'm embarrassed for you.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

Clearly Joe you are so far out of your league as I suggested originally you cannot even respond.


No, I'm in my league. It just requires some horse sense, of which you have none. But the funny thing is, you accuse me of not being able to respond, so I respond some more just to get a rise out of you, and yet your responding more means that you are debating me, which you said at first you wouldn't do because I wasn't popular enough.

I'm still laughing at that pretentiousness of yours. Seriously, that was so funny and you never explained yourself either.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

I think I will post these comment strands on my blog as a case of what not to do as a atheists. Cheers,


My reply...

Oh buddy, please post it. I'd be offended if you didn't. Every time you mention me, you help promote me, and since you think that I'm not popular enough, you'll just be helping me. So I guess that's how you justify continuing to argue, isn't it?

Man, I'm sorry you're so stupid. I'm sorry you can't formulate English sentences any better than a Korean shopkeeper, much less call upon some raw reasoning powers.

I didn't make you stupid, but if you're right that there is a god, then maybe he did, no? So don't take it out on me that your way in this world is so hard. I am sorry.

(JH)

Robert Morane said...

The fine-tuning argument is based on the _assumption_ that life was wanted (by God) and therefore something had to be done to the universe to allow for life to exist.

But this reasoning is circular as it already begs the question of a creator. If you start with the assumption that life is an accident, the conclusion of the fine-tuning argument no longer follows.

The Christian:

- God created life;

- life was meant to exist inside the universe;

- so the universe must have the proper characteristics for life to be possible;

- therefore, the universe was fine-tuned;

- only God can fine-tune a universe;

- therefore God exists.

I hope the circularity is easier to spot now.

If a universe is going to exist, then it _needs_ to have some characteristics, just like a baby _needs_ to have an eye colour.

The fine-tuning argument is only attracting to people who believe that human beings, and life in general, are special. Similarly, if you think _you_ are special, you'll think that you can't possibly be the result of the chance encounter between two people, but rather that some force led your parents to meet. But then, _you_ have the burden of proof, not I.

Robert Morane said...

About the Big Bang:

According to the current cosmological model, space-time is a property of our universe. According to this then, time started _with_ the Big Bang.

If time started with the BB, then so did causality, since it requires time to elapse between a cause and its effect.

If causality starts with the BB, then by logic, the BB _cannot_ have a cause.

It's important to note also that what we experience in our everyday lives is not necessarily what happens _fondamentally_ (at the "deeper" level). Let me explain.

Imagine that you and I are each throwing a dice in sequence. Each of us has 1 chance out of 6 to roll any particular number from 1 to 6 and collectively, there's 1 chance out of 36 that we'll roll the same number. Now what happens if we do the same thing but this time, we throw our dice _simultaneously_?

No difference. We still have a 1 chance out of 36 of rolling the same number.

However, at quantum level, this is false!! If we throw our dice sequencially, we'll very likely get a different number, but if we throw our dice simultaneously, we'll always roll the same number!

This, although difficult to believe, is a fact (not an assumption or theory) and has been confirmed experimentally many times over (not by thwrowing dice, obviously, but by sequentially and then simultaneously measuring momentum of quantum systems). (For those interested to know more, google up "entanglement" and "nonlocality".)

This is due to the fact that some of the Laws of nature change with scale.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

Hi Joe,

You said,

I say that it's matter that always was (in some form prior to this universe). Yes, this universe had a beginning. We know that, but what we don't know (and what you can't prove) is that there wasn't matter and existence prior to the big bang.

My Reply,

THIS IS GREAT. Mr. Contradiction when backed into a corner. JOE, this is the sentence in your blog...

'First, the universe was, and then it evolved us.'

Now which is it Joe, The 'universe was' or it had a beginning? Are you aware of what you write? Come on mate your not making sense.

You said,

Um, yes. I know matter exists the same way I know that anything else does. It's tangible data, so I call it knowledge--a thing you DON'T have of your god, btw.

My Reply,

Lets keep on topic shall we.

You said,

What? Prove what? That I choose to stay with matter, or that you choose to go with a deity that you don't know exists?

My Reply,

As above,

You said,

I know both; I know what I choose, and we both know that you don't know that your deity exists. You might believe it, but you don't know it. If you KNEW he existed, then his existence would be incontrovertible because he'd be tangible, and we wouldn't be having this discussion. You do admit that your convictions are open to falsification, don't you? If not, then I, nor any other atheist has any chance of convincing you of our position, in which case, it is futile to talk to you.

My Reply,

As I said I am happy to talk about all these things but this original strand was correcting you on your idea of the universe, 'just was' which, you now seem to contradict with yourself in your original position. If you claim so powerfully that you know the 'tangible' things why did you make such an elementary mistake?

You said,

No, cheese dick, I never denied that the big bang occurred! In your first post, you told me that the big bang was the origin of the universe. I told you I knew that, but that I didn't think it was the beginning of all matter and space-time.

My Reply,

Ok then Joe, this is great.

Let me quote you. It should help you to notice your moving hermeneutic. I say no the universe never 'just was' and here is your reply again for you.

(1) Are you seriously this stupid, or are you just joking?

(1a) Not worth responding to.

(2) Do you really think that I'm not familiar with the big bang (or even the Steady State Theory)? Is there any possible way that I haven't heard about it and how it was the beginning of the universe? Of course I have, resource kid!

(2a) Ok so you say you have heard of it. Thanks that's not what I asked.

(3) But ask your dimwitted self, "what do other atheists say to this?" Have you ever asked yourself that just once? Obviously not, it seems.

(3a) Was aware of many other atheists and responded to you in arguments against their and your apparent position. You then said, hey I don't debate cosmology. Lovely way to get out of the corner isn't it? Notice Joe you never affirmed the 'Big Bang' at this point.

(4) It's a challenge for you just to punctuate sentences correctly, much less understand your opponent's position. So I'll clarify our position for you--many atheists believe that the big bang was the beginning of this expansion of the universe (look up Oscillating Universe Theory). Most atheists believe that the big bang we know of is only one while others believe it was established from as-of-yet unknown principles.

(4a) Your answer, hey look at what some other atheists believe, I responded with problems again for both positions you asserted. Then you responded, 'Hey I don't debate cosmology.' By the way you say atheists believe that the 'Big Bang' we know of is only one... One what Joe?

(5) I prefer to address the question from the largest dynamic--the universe, in some form, has always existed, though not from our current expansion. Don't talk to me like I'm an idiot and have never heard of Discovery Channel level cosmology, ok?

(5a) So now Joe you say look the universe has always existed in some form, but the current model of expansion we cannot make that plain? So Joe here you again say the universe has always existed. Not you say it had a beginning? Which one? Furthermore you have changed your position to describe space-time as not the thing in the beginning which is what you said in your original comment.

Moreover, when you do acknowledge the 'Big Bang' you say you wish to approach it from the point of view that in some form it has always existed. So here you don't acknowledge the 'Big Bang' but decided to go with your original post. At this point how is anyone to believe that you adhere to the 'Big Bang?' Only when I back you into a corner do you say you never denied it.

Now Joe as a writer, which you claim to be, with amazing clarity in matters of grammar, you either need to re-read your posts or work hard at making yourself clearer. Of course the other possibility is that you made a claim that you had no initial idea about. I think the latter. For someone who makes grammar a point of correction perhaps you should work more on content. Please explain your contradictions?

You said,

Science tells us that the big bang was, but what it doesn't tell us is your fine-tuning nonsense.

My Reply,

Lets just stick on topic Joe, your aggressive dancing hermeneutic techniques are tiresome.

You said,

So, back to the initial point, we exist, the big bang happened. We are here, but beyond that, we don't know too much.

My Reply,

Well Joe again which is it, the 'Big Bang' happened or it did not? I am confused? If it happened why did you say it did not. If you want to acknowledge it why did you initially want to look at it from the always existed point of view? Unless you got cornered of course? This is pretty weak buddy.

You said,

In the absense of all the answers, I choose to stay with matter and posit it as the origin of the cosmos.

My reply,

You have changed positions again. Here is the problem, are you debating cosmology with me? If so I thought you did not do that? You are having your cake and eating it.

You said,

You go the extra (illogical) step of saying God exists and he created space-time and all of existence in the big bang.

My Reply,

Dancing hermeneutic again. Stay on topic.

You said,

I've never denied the big bang, stupid. But I deny and oppose your hijacking the event to put your god as the cause of it.

My Reply,

Ha, you have done everything except deny it implicitly. You don't acknowledge it as a possibility when I initially questioned you, then said you prefer to look at if from the point of view it always existed in some form and then you said its just space time. Now if you don't deny the 'Big Bang' then why in your original post did you say the universe 'Just was'.

The only reason I can fathom is that it supported you post point of view. However if you believe in it and you think it is a reality then more intellectual honesty is mandated. To say the universe 'just was' and then to also adhere to the 'Big Bang' needs great explanation and clarifying work especially from a writer. Why did you just say the universe 'just was' if you believe it had a beginning? And please don't go into stuff about a certain point of view, if your issue is to persuade with reasoned tangible evidence then a certain point of view is really intellectual prostitution.

And Joe, All I have been trying to talk to you about is the beginning of the universe, the rest of your assertions come from your own head, as is made clear below.

You said,

You're a snot who claims to have an inside line to knowledge and science.

My Reply,

If you choose to think that then that's fine you, you won't be the first. Now Joe, please show me where I made a clim that I have inside line to knowledge and science. I have just re-read through the comments and all I can see is questions I have asked you which you don't answer. Or refuse to debate.

Is it because you don't debate cosmology that you think I have inside knowledge?

You said,

Science doesn't prove the existence of ghosts, and you can't hijack it the way you try to.

My Reply,

Hmmm, Joe, we are talking about the beginning of the universe. We always have been. You keep changing the subject. I cannot see the point unless to distract and distort the current debate?

You said,

You see, you say you are a minister, but I don't know that.

My reply,

Sure.

You said,

Saying you "burnt" me makes you seem like a 22-year-old Campus Crusade for Christ-er who thinks that because he's had a few astronomy and cosmology courses that he's got the answers, and that everything is about "winning" debates. That's childish and very sophomoric. I'm embarrassed for you.

My Reply,

Wow, 'burnt' brings in connotations of sophomoric which embarrasses you.

What about, 'snot' 'idiot' 'stupid' 'grunt' 'dip-shit' 'cheese dick.' If you are embarrassed about 'burnt' man you must be mortified about your own behavior. Oh and don't you think your little name calling phase is because you are loosing the debate?

You said,

No, I'm in my league. It just requires some horse sense, of which you have none

My Reply,

Well your 'horse sense' appears to be one where you contradict yourself. How can you not see this?

You said,

But the funny thing is, you accuse me of not being able to respond, so I respond some more just to get a rise out of you, and yet your responding more means that you are debating me, which you said at first you wouldn't do because I wasn't popular enough.

My reply,

Joe, do you read the comments.

Here is what I said,

"If your blog was more considered I would feel obliged to answer more of your rants but really my time is better suited for a more considered people on this blog like Lee or John."


My original reason for not responding to you was due to lack of 'CONSIDERATION!' Where did you get the idea of popularity from? Joe do you know what your arguing about? Please read and re-read the comments before you mouth off. Looks like you don't even have the horse sense you need.

You said,

I'm still laughing at that pretentiousness of yours. Seriously, that was so funny and you never explained yourself either.

My Reply,

Where Joe?

You said,

Oh buddy, please post it. I'd be offended if you didn't. Every time you mention me, you help promote me, and since you think that I'm not popular enough, you'll just be helping me. So I guess that's how you justify continuing to argue, isn't it?

My Reply,

Joe I say it again with the hope that repetition will get the message through. I NEVER SAID YOU WERE NOT POPULAR. Man it seems you get caught up in the emotion of something and then just run with what you think is the case. Please read and read again because you are making many mistakes.

You said,

Man, I'm sorry you're so stupid. I'm sorry you can't formulate English sentences any better than a Korean shopkeeper, much less call upon some raw reasoning powers.

My Reply,

I'm also sorry I'm stupid. I will endeavor to work harder on grammar, thanks. Please show me Joe where my reasoning is flawed? Now I have shown you where your reasoning lies? Can you?

You said,

I didn't make you stupid, but if you're right that there is a god, then maybe he did, no? So don't take it out on me that your way in this world is so hard. I am sorry.

My Reply,

What?

Regards, Rev. Phil.

Joe E. Holman said...

I love it! I love it! I'm having a lot of fun here, Rev Phil! You see, you are wasting lots of your own time by replying to me (time you shouldn't have), which kind of underscores my earlier suspicion that you are not really a trained minister at all, just sort of a lay-minister hack at best who popped onto the internet to clear up a few Bible discrepancies as he sees them, and your blogs are evidence of that. But whatever the case, I think we're making progress.

You see, you've already admitted you are stupid and that you suck at grammar. That's good! That's progress!

Since you are unbelievably stupid, and you think that you can tell ME what I believe, I'll say it again...

I never, never, never denied an eternal universe, not once did I. The universe (in some form) is and has always been. That's what I said in my post and I stand by it. But I chided you for initially bringing up the big bang because I already knew about it (as you should have assumed I did) and I accept it. I accept that this universe (this expansion at least) was established by the big bang. That's what science tells us. But unlike you, I don't believe that the big bang is the true "beginning" of it all. There may have been an infinite succession of big bangs, or what have you. Science is too young to know all of these intangibles for sure yet. I don't and you don't. So when I refer to the "universe" that first "was," I am referring to the universe in its most grand form (irrelevant of the big bang phenomenon). Ok? Does that resolve the seeming contradiction for you?

Go to my site and you will see that I never believed anything different than that.

You are so anxious for me to trip up and contradict myself that you waste time on lengthy replies when you don't even have a clue as to what I (and many atheists, incidentally) believe.

Reverend Phillip Brown said...

Here is what I said,

"If your blog was more considered I would feel obliged to answer more of your rants but really my time is better suited for a more considered people on this blog like Lee or John."

My original reason for not responding to you was due to lack of 'CONSIDERATION!' Where did you get the idea of popularity from?


By you telling me that I am not more considered, that can only mean that my blog is not as busy or recognized as this one (John's blog), which means it is less considered, and hence, less POPULAR. So your refusing to answer my "rants" is due to an insufficently large audience, which makes you a hypocrite according to Matthew 6:2-6.

I stand behind that and I'd like it if you just admitted that you are a shallow and hypocritical, especially since I just took a look at your blogs and they are way, way less considered than you say mine are, which makes you even more of a hypocrite.

You are a nobody, an unconsidered (as you put it), wannabe, online reverend and you know nothing and yet you strut around like you have answers to our objections to Christianity. You don't and won't.

I challenge you to get my book, read it through, and critique it. Do the same with John's if you haven't. But this would all be made so much easier if you would be a good kangaroo-chasing lad and go back to the cyanide tablets plan.

(JH)