Thrilling News from the Discovery Institute

This is so amazing that we won’t delay with any introductory blather. At the Discoveroids’ creationist blog we found this: Privileged Species with Geneticist Michael Denton Gets Its Online Premiere; See It Now! Here’s what we’re told, with bold font added by us:

Finally, the stirring and profound documentary with geneticist Michael Denton, Privileged Species, is available to see now, free online.

Michael Denton? He’s a Discoveroid “senior fellow” and the author of the 1985 creationist classic, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis. The last time we discussed him was Discoveroids: The Universe is Platonic. Okay, back to the big announcement:

Dr. Denton extends the argument for intelligent design to the ultra-, ultra-fine-tuning of the cosmos for carbon-based life forms like ourselves.

“Ultra-, ultra-fine-tuning”? Ooooooooooooh! [*Curmudgeon is so exhilarated he has to dash away from his computer to change his underwear*] Okay, we’re back. Let’s read on:

You cannot watch these 33 minutes without coming away with the very powerful conclusion that the universe was designed with us very specifically in mind.

The Discoveroids provide a link to Denton’s video, but we’re going to tease you. You’ll have click over to their website to see it. We continue:

The documentary investigates the special properties of carbon, water, and oxygen that make human life and the life of other organisms possible, and it explores some of the unique features of humans that make us a truly privileged species.

The “special properties of carbon, water, and oxygen”? Well, if oxygen atoms didn’t have 8 protons, then there wouldn’t be any H2O. Denton is right! Wowie! Why didn’t anyone tell us about this before? Here’s more:

Dr. Denton himself is currently on a national speaking tour to celebrate the release of the film. Casey Luskin traveled with him in California last week …

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Traveling with Casey must be a special reward for Discoveroid fellows.

We have to stop now, because we’re too excited to go on. If any of you have the courage to view the video, let us know what it says.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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24 responses to “Thrilling News from the Discovery Institute

  1. I’m ultra-, ultra-, ultra- excited to never watch this flick!

  2. Richard Bond

    The big problem with refuting the fine tuning argument from creationists is that they never show their calculations: they merely quote what they have heard elsewhere. I very much doubt doubt that an ID biochemist understands much about probability calculations concerning the physics of the universe.

  3. Does this dim know about the hole and the water in it???
    If it comes to netflix I may watch it to play logical fallacy bingo or its drinking game.

  4. Another big problem with fine tuning is that the universe has the second law of thermodynamics. As we are so often told, the 2lot is not “friendly” to life. The 2lot is so “unfriendly” to life that it takes supernatural intervention to make life.

    Another big problem with fine tuning is that the parameters of physics have changed by several orders of magnitude in the past so that things like the speed of light and radioactive decay make the universe appear to be billions, rather than thousands, of years old. There is something amiss with the calculations which says that even a change of a few percent would make life impossible, for that means also that life on Earth has been around for billions of years.

  5. L.Long asks: “Does this dim know about the hole and the water in it???”

    They know about it. They think it’s a good argument. See Discovery Institute: What Are They Thinking?

  6. Somewhat off-topic, but nevertheless related to intelligent design: ‘Miracle’ face of Jesus appears in South American landslide.

  7. That’s not JC, that’s my cousin Herb.

  8. michaelfugate

    Does every new scientific paper published reduce the IQ of anti-evolutionists by a measurable quantity? Doesn’t seem that your average creationist today is dumber than those 50, 100, 150 years ago?

  9. Mike Elzinga

    My favorite “fine tuned” parameter is Jason Lisle’s speed of light. It travels at infinite speed toward every observer and at c/2 away from every observer. Note that this applies to all observers, i.e., to every point in space no matter how fast the observer is moving.

    In fact, he even quantifies it by saying that the speed is c/(1 – cos(θ)), where θ is the angle between the path of the light ray and the line between the observer and the photon.

    It just doesn’t get any uglier than that; the ultimate Me-Centered Universe. Even the Discovery Institution hasn’t come up with anything that “clever.”

  10. As long as do not encounter a large, finely tuned asteroid, or intersect the path of one of those ultra fine-tuned gamma ray bursts, or pass too close to another finely-tuned star or, worse, a precisely tuned supernova, or… well, any one of a long list of catastrophic but finely tuned hazards… then I guess one might say the universe is finely tuned for life.

    At least in a universe finely tuned for life, life must be everywhere. I’m sure that will be well covered in the film.

    Also, and this one is for the finely tuned advocates – why make a universe with nearly 25% Helium? What does life need helium for? It seems like there could be larger amounts of more useful elements in the universe from the beginning, instead of requiring exploding stars to produce them and seed them into nearby space. That’s a really inefficient was to tune a universe. If it’s created, just skip the intermediate stellar evolution steps.

  11. Mike Elzinga

    These “fine tuning” arguments are a bit like looking at a simple harmonic oscillator, such as a mass on a spring, that has a period of exactly one second and claiming that the oscillator wouldn’t exist if the spring constant or mass were different.

  12. “Dr” Denton’s “Theory”.
    “Its true. I’m special and the world revolves around me. Any questions”?
    PS I’m voting for Ted Cruz, a true Renaissance man.
    Thank you Harvard Law School.
    Kind Regards,
    Liberty University

  13. @blackWatch: I think you nailed it: all the creationist fine tuners are incredibly infantile. The idea that the world revolves around you is expected for a 2 year old, but many people manage to outgrow it. And now I’m off to thank the star that exploded to make the iron in my haemoglobin.

  14. “You cannot watch these 33 minutes without coming away with the very powerful conclusion that the universe was designed with us very specifically in mind.”

    Apparently Dr. D, for all his professed Christianity, hasn’t read the Genesis account very carefully. It makes clear that humanity was created by a God who, having created the universe, decided quite late to make a man “in our own image.” And decided even later than that to create a woman. There’s no indication whatever in Genesis that the universe was created for man, though obviously if it couldn’t support human life we wouldn’t be here. (Perhaps something else would.)

  15. Richard Bond

    Mike Elzinga: Lisle claims that his formulation gives the same results as all of the methods of measuring the speed of light that depend on reflection, because the round-trip time is the same. He seems to have overlooked measurements based on cavity resonators and microwave interferometry (neither of which would work without a constant c), the emu/esu ratio, and stellar aberration. Best of all, Lisle’s nonsense falls foul of the very first determination of c by Ole Romer.

    Ed: helium is pretty useful as a building block for heavier elements.

  16. “Surely, God could have caused birds to fly with their bones made of solid gold, with their veins full of quicksilver, with their flesh heavier than lead, and with their wings exceedingly small. He did not, and that ought to show something. It is only in order to shield your ignorance that you put the Lord at every turn to the refuge of a miracle.”
    Galileo, cited from

  17. L.Long: “Does this dim know about the hole and the water in it???”

    “And without the hypothesis of multiple universes, the observation that if life hadn’t come into existence we wouldn’t be here has no significance. One doesn’t show that something doesn’t require explanation by pointing out that it is a condition of one’s existence. If I ask for an explanation of the fact that the air pressure in the transcontinental jet is close to that at sea level, it is no answer to point out that if it weren’t, I’d be dead.”

    – Thomas Nagel (atheist like Douglas Adams), Mind and Cosmos

  18. I’m holding out for Luskin to write, direct and star in the final chapter of the Privileged Trilogy that summarizes the entire ID movement, a veritable oeuvre de merde tentatively titled, “The Privileged Feces – Rare As A Royal Flush.”

  19. Arguments from analogy are amusing, but any analogy can be turned to the contrary. For example, “What is green, hangs on the wall, and whistles?” “A herring.”
    Consider the small probability that I exist. Not so long ago, about 1/2 of the children died before maturity. Yet every one of my ancestors were among those who survived. Let’s be conservative and assume that I had 10 different ancestors in each generation, and 3 generations in each century, and rather than 1/2 survival, make it 9/10 who survived.
    That means about 9000 ancestors going back to 1000 BC who survived, with a cumulative probability of all of them being survivors being 0.9^9000 ~ 10^-370. It is no answer to point out that if they didn’t, I wouldn’t be here.

  20. michaelfugate

    One doesn’t show that something doesn’t require explanation by pointing out that it is a condition of one’s existence.

    That’s true, but it doesn’t help much. All it means is that our existence is contingent on the form of our universe. Just like the puddle’s existence is contingent on the hole – no hole – no puddle. Nagel seems to think that intelligence is required for order, but can’t say why. Proffering intelligence without knowing anything about that intelligence is not an explanation. Hume indicated that if the universe were designed then the designer is not at all analogous to us. An intelligence that could design a universe is much more difficult to understand than physics, chemistry and biology.

  21. In addition to their infantile view that the universe revolves around them, creationists aren’t very good at maths. Because I was annoyed with the “it was done ‘specially for me” argument, I once did a “back of the envelope” calculation (with honors to Enrico Fermi) which shows that we occupy only about 10^-50 of the universe. While that doesn’t disprove the existence of a sky fairy who designed the universe, it does indicate he/she/it probably didn’t do it for us. Indeed, he/she/it must be very fond of cold (3K) empty space since he/she/it made so much of it.

    Even here on our planet, if there were a designer (blessed be his/her/its name), they were much more interested in bacteria and archaea, since they occupy much more of the available habitat than we do! So I’m convinced the “wow, blessed designer did all this for me, me, me!” crowd is delusional.

  22. Mike Elzinga

    @ Richard Bond:

    Yeah; we had a rather long discussion of that over on Panda’s Thumb recently.

    Lisle bastardizes the history leading up to relativity by making it appear that the issue was light traveling toward and away from an observer rather than in different x,y,z directions in space. He also doesn’t appear to understand anything about the interactions of photons with matter.

    But his “theory” is hilariously funny when you actually try to apply it to anything. As I said, it’s the ultimate Me-Centered universe; yet it doesn’t work for anyone.

  23. @abeastwood… bacteria and archaea, since they occupy much more of the available habitat than we do!
    Including the exact same place as we do! All over us and inside us.

  24. I watched it all while doing other things. It’s as stupid as you’d expect. If I had the stomach for it, I’d watch it again and count all the times he says “it seems….” And “it appears…..” Followed by ooooo oxygen. Ooooo water. Ooooo whatever. Aren’t we privileged to have exactly this?

    The words “this is proven by…..”, yeah, not so much. Complete BS.