We present to you, dear reader, a letter-to-the-editor titled Atheist vs. theist, which appears in the Tampa Tribune of Tampa, Florida. We’ll give you a few choice excerpts from this letter, and we’ll omit the writer’s name and city. Here we go, with a bit of bold font added for emphasis:
I realize I will be attacked from all angles on this one. However, the contradictions in atheistic “beliefs” necessitates an investigation of their merits, or lack thereof.
We’re not interested in defending atheism, but as you will swiftly see, the letter-writer is equating atheism with science (especially evolution), and he uses arguments that are commonly deployed by creationists to criticize evolution. We’ll consider what he has to say in that context. Let’s read on:
Even the most radical of atheists will agree that the universe displays order, regularity, complexity, and intelligibility. The anthropic principal, the view that nature’s laws are fine-tuned to ensure the emergence of human life, has certainly heightened the intuition that the universe is the product of intelligent design. The intricacy, harmony and the sheer organization of the cosmos in allowing for human life is evident in the fine-tuning of fundamental constants in physics and chemistry to the “just so” nature of the universe. The information-laden blocks called DNA and the crowing achievement, the brain-mind relationship all calls for a cosmic designer.
See there? He’s laid out the entire case for intelligent design. In a nutshell, the letter-writer asserts that because he can’t fathom it all, the explanation must be Oogity Boogity! Do you find that persuasive? We continue:
The person who rejects the intuition that a designer stands behind the universe and its functions must of necessity believe the universe and all that is in it happened by chance and coincidence. Yet this naturalistic, atheistic option is so improbable as to be inconceivable. The statistical probability of the universe coming into existence with all the properties to sustain life is 10 to the 47th power, statistically impossible. But some say, “I cannot see God.”
That’s a slight variation, but it amounts to the same argument. He doesn’t comprehend how it all came to be, and he quotes some big number he copied from somewhere to claim that the universe is improbable, therefore Oogity Boogity! But ignorance isn’t evidence of anything, except the need to get to work trying to figure it out.
We’ve rebutted that kind of “odds” argument before, but we’ll repeat that rebuttal here. There are 52 playing cards in a deck. The odds against the sequence resulting from a good shuffle are — as the mathematicians say — 52 factorial. You need to multiply 52 x 51 x 50, etc., and keep going until you get to the last card. That’s what factorial means. Fifty-two factorial is a big number. It works out to be 8.06581752 × 1067. That’s 8 (and a tad more) times 10 to the 67th power, a far larger number than the letter-writer’s measly 10 to the 47th power (computed somehow) which he claims are the odds against our universe. But there are decks of cards all over the place — each of them arranged in an allegedly impossible sequence. Further, as we explained three years ago, the algorithm of evolution can easily defeat those odds. See The Inevitability of Evolution (Part III).
The letter goes on at length, claiming that loads of other abstract things are also evidence — perhaps proof — of Oogity Boogity! The letter-writer has rounded up all the usual suspects: numbers, logic, morality, truth, the mind, etc. It all amounts to: “I think, therefore Oogity Boogity!” Then he says:
The atheist view is the universe is meaningless; but if the universe is meaningless, then human life is meaningless. This concept creates a great paradox in thought. Namely, how could people living in a meaningless world come to the amazingly meaningful recognition that the world has no meaning?
Hey, if Noah’s Ark gives meaning to the letter-writer’s otherwise meaningless life, then he should certainly embrace it. We want him to be happy.
The letter winds down with a discussion of scripture, sin, and what he says is mankind’s “inherent and intuitive sense of the Divine.” All in all, it’s a fairly comprehensive catalog of philosophical arguments against science, specifically evolution. So click over to the Tampa Tribune and read it all. Then you’ll understand why creationism will never die.
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