We haven’t done one of these for a year. The last time was Part XI. That has links to all the earlier episodes in the series, in which we offer disconnected observations we’ve made while reporting on The Controversy between evolution and creationism.
Some of the nuggets that follow are new, and some were taken from our earlier articles, but all of them were inspired by reading and analyzing the writings of creationists. Okay, here we go:
Authoritarians (religious or otherwise) always justify their power by telling us: If there’s no intellectual authority, if everyone does his own thinking, the result will be chaos! Really? Is science chaotic? Mathematics? Engineering? No, they’re not. But in each of those activities, people are doing their own thinking. No authoritarian approval is required. It seems to us that chaos reigns only in those areas where people don’t think for themselves, and defer to authority instead.
The traditional picture of Adam and Eve — almost always with a tree in the scene — doesn’t represent humanity’s fall. It symbolizes our progress, starting with our descent from the trees. Walking around with our hands free was revolutionary, and our tree-dwelling relatives were undoubtedly opposed to such a change in their ancient ways. So it is with creationists. They want us to abandon the Enlightenment, which they see as a threat. They insist that we should return to the myths and ignorance of our ancestors, as we were once urged to return to the trees. But we’re not going back.
Yes, we no longer live in the Garden. But it’s not because of a divine curse. We left of our own volition. We walked out on our own two legs — not four — and began the long journey that has brought us to the present day. We won’t give up the Enlightenment any more than we would give up bipedalism and return to the trees. The creationists can stay where they are, if that’s what they prefer. But as we did with our tree-dwelling ancestors, we’ll leave them behind. That’s why there are still monkeys.
Ol’ Hambo’s proposed “replica” of Noah’s Ark is actually a wonderful symbol of the way he and his followers think. The bible describes the Ark as having one window. That means at the start of the voyage it was full of hot air. Then, when the Flood subsided and the dazed passengers emerged, it was full of poop. The symbolism is perfect!
If the creationists were serious about their fine-tuning argument, they would go about it like this: First, they would make some credible demonstration of what the fundamental constants should have been. That’s difficult, of course, but it’s essential for what they’re trying to do. For example, they need to show that, say, the force of gravity should have been exactly 1,000 times weaker than the electromagnetic force. Then, and only then, can they point to what the constants are now, and claim that something interfered with the way things were supposed to be. Even then, they’ll have a difficult time showing that the only explanation is a supernatural intervention, but at least they’ll have something to talk about. As it is now, all they can do is point to the universe and declare it to be a miracle. That’s not much of an argument.
Our existence is indeed improbable, which is no surprise to anyone who understands evolution. That’s what makes us so valuable — at least to ourselves. It’s the inevitable conclusion for an evolutionist. On the other hand, an all-powerful deity could poof us into existence whenever it wished, and then obliterate us if he were in the mood to do so. Afterwards, if his mood changed, he could re-create us all over again. Nothing to it. We’re no big deal in that kind of universe, little more than a toy, with which a supreme intelligence might become bored.
We conclude with some Curmudgeonly poetry:
Mars is red, Uranus is blue,
The Curmudgeon wrote this just for you.
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