More than anything else they’ve babbled about lately, the “fine tuning” argument seems to be the strongest claim the Discovery Institute has for “proving” that the universe was deliberately created by their intelligent designer — blessed be he! — whom they never name as Yahweh, but they don’t leave much doubt about who it is.
Well, they’ve also got William Paley’s watchmaker analogy — if something looks designed, then by golly it is designed. Besides that, they can always whip out the God of the gaps argument — anything not yet fully understood is “best” explained by a supernatural agency. If that’s not enough proof for ya, they’ll attack Charles Darwin, and blame him for Hitler, Mao, etc. So the Discoveroids have a lot of arguments, but they really seem to like fine tuning. The first time we noticed that they adopted it was a few years ago, when we wrote Discoveroids Embrace Fine Tuning Argument.
Their latest effort — besides a recent post by a Discoveroid fellow-traveler, about which we wrote More Creationism in the Wall Street Journal — is now at their creationist blog. The title is Ring in the New Year with a Fabulous Video on Fine-Tuning from William Lane Craig. It was written by Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist. Casey says, with bold font added by us:
If you don’t have plans for New Year’s Eve — or even if you do have plans — take six minutes out of your evening to watch this spectacular video produced by William Lane Craig: .
Who is William Lane Craig, the genius who created the video? According to Wikipedia, he’s “an American Christian apologist and analytic philosopher. He works in the philosophy of religion, philosophy of time, and the defense of Christian theism.” Craig sounds like a great scientific authority. We’ve posted about him before — see Fox Offers “Five Reasons Why God Exists”.
What does Casey say about Craig’s video? Pay close attention, because his article is rather brief:
Yes there’s a Bible verse at the end, but that in no way negates or mitigates the point here, which is the astounding fine-tuning of the universe for life. On the contrary, and this is of interest whether you’re a religious believer or not, it shows that the wisdom of the ancients is being confirmed, not refuted, by the discoveries of modern science.
Oh yeah — you can ignore that bible verse at the end of the video if you like, but science is confirming “the wisdom of the ancients.” Let’s read on:
The video’s argument for design is strictly scientific:
[Casey quotes the video’s “strictly scientific” argument:] If the mass and energy of the early universe were not evenly distributed to an incomprehensible precision of 1 part in 10 to the 10 to the 123rd, the universe would be hostile to life of any kind. The fact is, our universe permits physical, interactive life only because these, and many other numbers, have been independently and exquisitely balanced on a razor’s edge. … The best explanation for why the universe is fine-tuned for life may very well be, it was designed that way.
Is it true that the universe is “fine-tuned for life”? There’s not much of it around, compared to black holes, cosmic rays, and loads of other stuff that doesn’t do us much good. Why don’t the Discoveroids conclude that the universe is fine-tuned for those things? And no matter what the fundamental physical constants of the universe are, the imaginary “odds” against all of those constants having a different set of values would be equally enormous. So what?
We’ve heard it all before, and we’ve also dismissed it before — see the section titled Anthropic Principle, in our Common Creationist Claims Confuted.
The universe is what it is. It existed for billions of years without us, and it will exist for additional billions of years after we’re gone. Why would anyone think it’s all about us? We’re here, and we should certainly make the most of it, but anyone could come up with a list of additional features he would like the universe to have that would make it more congenial. How about two or three more Earth-like planets within easy reach? Is that asking too much? And why is space travel be so darned difficult? It seems that the more we learn about the universe, the more hostile it appears. But creationists insist it was all perfectly tweaked — just for us. Isn’t that sweet?
Casey ends his post with this final line:
What a happy thought to welcome the New Year.
It doesn’t take much to make Casey happy.
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