The Discovery Institute’s creationist blog has another post by Kirk Durston, about whom we first wrote: Discoveroids: The Corruption of Science. In addition to his academic achievements, we’re told that he’s also a clergyman, so we call him Rev Durston.
Like the rev’s last article, his new one — starting with its title and continuing through its contents — reveals an astonishing lack of self-awareness: Confusing Fantasy with Science. Let us see how the rev thinks that you, dear reader, confuse science with fantasy, while he and the Discoveroids are steadfastly clear-minded. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
In order for atheism to survive the advance of science, it must come up with a natural explanation for the origin of the universe, the incredible fine-tuning required for the universe to support life, and the origin of life itself.
That’s the rev’s opening line. Observe his fundamental fallacy: he regards a supernatural explanation to be the default answer to all questions. In his mind, the burden of proof is always on the scientist, whose task it is to explain each observation in such a way that it couldn’t possibly be a miracle.
Maybe that’s how it works in ecclesiastical tribunals. We wouldn’t know. But out here in the real world, it’s impossible to exclude miracles, because they can’t be observed or tested. Science is required only to offer a testable, natural explanation for the phenomenon in question. By the standards of science, the rev is just another swami who brings nothing to the table but a huge pant-load of Oogity Boogity! Then he says:
As our knowledge of physics and cosmology has advanced, scientists have pointed out that the universe appears to be unbelievably fine-tuned to be able to support life.
If it were true that the universe was created to support life, then its appearance would be inevitable throughout the universe, wherever congenial conditions existed. It would require no additional activity from an intelligent designer. Let’s read on:
One solution has been to promote the idea of a multiverse composed of a near infinite number of universes, each with its own particular set of laws of physics. If this is granted, then even those highly improbable universes capable of sustaining life will occur.
Your Curmudgeon doesn’t think too much of the multiverse — which is an inherently untestable concept — so we’ll skip most of the rev’s discussion of that. He tells us:
Science is also advancing our understanding of just how fantastically improbable the origin of life is. [Math mumbo-jumbo.] With an infinite number of possible universes, the emergence of life will becomes inevitable, no matter how improbable.
Balderdash! First, the claim that life is “fantastically improbable” violates the rev’s premise that the universe is fine-tuned for life. Also, reality is comprised of improbabilities. For our description of how mathematically improbable your own existence is, see Creationism’s Fallacy of Retrospective Astonishment.
The rev concludes by telling us that because the multiverse is untestable, it must be rejected as a scientific concept. Fair enough, but that’s the end of his analysis. It leaves him with his untestable premise — that life is a miracle. So he wins! At least he imagines that he does.
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