Klinghoffer: Fine Tuning Proves Design

We are gradually refining the way we deal with posts by David Klinghoffer, the Discoveroids’ journalistic slasher and poo flinger. His latest at their creationist blog is Dennis Prager: “Every Natural and Physical Law Is Exquisitely Tuned to Produce Life, and Ultimately Man, on Earth”.

We’ll start our analysis by examining who and what he’s writing about. According to Wikipedia, Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host, who “is noted for his conservative political and social views grounded in ‘Judeo-Christian’ values.” We’re also told that: “He majored in Middle Eastern Studies and History at Brooklyn College,” and that he “went on to study at the Russian Institute (now Harriman Institute) at Columbia University.” There’s no doubt that Prager has an impressive academic record, but it should be noted that he is not a scientist.

Fine. Now we’ll consider what Klinghoffer is discussing. His title already revealed that — it’s the “fine tuning” argument, which we’ve discussed (and dismissed) in Common Creationist Claims Confuted — it’s under the heading “Anthropic Principle.”

Okay, we know what we’re getting into, so we can be selective in our choice of excerpts, and we’ll ignore a lot of links and irrelevancies. Klinghoffer says, with bold font added by us:

There’s someone called Keith Dalton, aka “Mr. Deity,” who appears in a series of self-made videos mocking religion. I was not previously familiar with him, but one example of his work comes in for praise today by Jerry Coyne at Why Evolution Is True.

“Mr. Deity” has upset Klinghoffer because he:

… spends that time going after radio host Dennis Prager, a good friend of ours, for a typically smart column Mr. Prager wrote back in March about the Bible’s Noah story, in anticipation of the misanthropic recent film. Coyne agrees with Dalton in disapproving of Prager: “Have a look, but only if your stomach is strong!”

That stuff is expected. It’s nothing new that Klinghoffer hates everything said or praised by Coyne, so we’ll ignore it. But in lashing out at Coyne he tells us:

Isn’t it interesting, by the way, how we’re supposed to be the ones animated by religion, yet if you’re looking for multiple daily fulminations on religious (or anti-religious) themes you can pretty much rely on Darwinian evolutionist Dr. Coyne?

That’s a current theme of the Discoveroids. Being creationists, it’s inevitable that their “theory” of intelligent design is seen for what it is — a theological attack on science. They don’t have any verifiable evidence, and their “theory” isn’t testable, so it’s only natural that the Discoveroids’ critics treat their claims as what they are — theological proclamations. When that happens, as it must, the Discoveroids respond by saying: “Hey, you’re the ones bringing religion into the argument.” Silly tactic. It’s like a dockside harlot complaining that her customers are only interested in her for one thing. Well, what else is there?

Then, after complaining that the Discoveroids’ critics are always bringing up theology, Klinghoffer gives us this quote from Prager:

All of creation, in the biblical view, was to ultimately prepare the way for the creation of man. But one does not need the Bible alone to hold this view. A purely scientific reading of the universe is in keeping with this view. Everything — every natural and physical law — is exquisitely tuned to produce life, and ultimately man, on earth.

Klinghoffer praises Prager’s words of wisdom by saying:

And that, surely, is exactly right. The fine-tuning of the cosmos specifically for human life is the theme of work by Discovery Institute’s Jay Richards and Guillermo Gonzalez in The Privileged Planet [and several similar works by other Discoveroids].

Yet Klinghoffer is shocked — shocked! — that critics of intelligent design dare to bring religion into the discussion. Here’s one more excerpt from the final paragraph, just before he offers a creationist video we haven’t looked at:

Anyone writing sincerely and thoughtfully about the Bible, as Dennis Prager does, opens himself up to mindless mockery by the likes of Keith Dalton [“Mr. Deity”]. That’s a given. I would love to hear Dalton, or Coyne, address the scientific point that Mr. Prager, Dr. Richards, Dr. Gonzalez and Dr. Denton make. Don’t hold your breath.

Did Prager make a “scientific point”? We must have missed it.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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19 responses to “Klinghoffer: Fine Tuning Proves Design

  1. “All of creation, in the biblical view, was to ultimately prepare the way for the creation of man. But one does not need the Bible alone to hold this view.”

    But having the bible really, really helps in having a biblical view. And I thought they were in no way religious.

  2. Prager is actually encouraging – if all of creation is focused on ultimately creating man (one assumes through billions of years of tedious intelligent design work) then, since the laws of “creation” are the same everywhere, there must be millions, if not billions, of other planets throughout the cosmos inhabited by humans.

    Oddly for a self-proclaimed scientific institute, the DI consistently takes the view that the earth is so special that life only occurs here. That’s a much narrower view of the fine-tuning argument, and the only basis for that position is religious belief. There is no independent evidence that the earth is unique in the universe. Like all of the other arguments of ID, once you scratch the surface, it’s religion all the way down.

  3. Maybe he takes the bible as a science book so he thinks he was talking science

  4. Richard Bond

    Since creationists are dogmatically bound to accept only our species as the outcome of life on earth, they have painted themselves into a corner. Rational people should be quite comfortable with the idea of very different life on other worlds, or in a potentially different universe. And of course, most of the parameters claimed to be finely tuned are anything but.

    I recommend Douglas Adams’s puddle for Prager’s contemplation.

  5. Charles Deetz ;)

    And our bodies are finely tuned for cancer, too. Yippee!

  6. Our Curmudgeon reflects—

    “It’s like a dockside harlot complaining that her customers are only interested in her for one thing. Well, what else is there?”

    A finely tuned analogy that captures perfectly the essential narcissistic sleaziness of the Discorrhoids’ individual and collective carping.

  7. Ah, the universe is fine tuned, indeed. Fine tuned to make black holes, the Ebola virus, dog [poop]. You can substitute anything for the word “life” in this argument and it would also hold, that if it weren’t completely bogus. Study after study has shown that universes with different constants could indeed exist and possibly create life (not life as we know it, necessarily). The argument is “change any one and life “as we know it” wouldn’t exist.” Well, if you changed the rules of American football so they were same as Australian football, then American football wouldn’t exist, now would it. Not a very compelling argument.

  8. Fined tuned to make isotope dating work, at least for as long as there has been life as we know it. Fine tuned enough to have confidence that the speed of light has been pretty such the same value.
    On the other hand, omnipotent gods could make life whatever physics there is. Actually, life despite non-fine-tuning would be strong evidence for super-natural agency.

  9. @TomS: Excellent point. As I once said to an aquaintance who was banging on about “vadic flying”, I’ll believe it when someone vadic flys off the George Washington Bridge with a glide path significantly different from a brick.

  10. docbill1351

    Mr. Deity is my favorite. Check out YouTube for MANY episodes. One of my favorites is:

    Let there be Light!

  11. docbill1351

    And

    Lucifer!

    “I can’t believe you took all the cute mascots for yourself!”

  12. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    “Darwinian evolutionist Dr. Coyne”

    “Darwinian … evolutionist”

    Ugh, Klingy, if you’re gonna jump the shark don’t forget to wear your leather jacket.

    *eyeroll*

  13. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    .. for the record I get that some biologists can be referred to as Darwinists based on their viewpoints, particularly in GB where it’s not a fashionable creationist thing to use it as an slur. But for all the intentionally derogatory equivocation that goes on with dishonest [self redacted] like the Klingster with the use of the word “Darwinists” I think even he knows how others of his persuasion will hear it.

  14. So how does his theory rule out that the universe was fine tuned for gram-positive bacteria. There are certainly a ton of them hanging around.

  15. waldteufel

    Sorry to burst your bubble, Klingkledoofus, but my tapeworm says that I was fine tuned by the Intelligent Designer, blessed be she, to be an ecosystem just for him. My intestines are just the right size, my internal fluids have just the right pH, my body temperature –all fine tuned just for my tapeworm! Praise Jebus!

  16. @Chris: Indeed. Or, to paraphrase J. B. S. Haldane, god must have an inordinate fondness for bacteria. And, on those lines, he’s even fonder of viruses. Possibly the universe is fine tuned for viruses, which are made in god’s image.

  17. abeastwood says: “Possibly the universe is fine tuned for viruses”

    Carl Sagan said that if the laws of nature were different, there would be no rocks. He called it the “lithic principle.”

  18. I never really understood the ‘fine tuning’ thing. But as the Curmudgeons poety shows there is no such thing as an ID. If there is anything it is a TISD or Totally Incompetent Stupid Designer and it should be fired for doing such a terrible job.

  19. In addition to Charles, Chris and Waldteufel: the White House obviously was designed to provide the fly with a nice resting place.