Klinghoffer: Why Is the Universe So Big?

This is the latest from the Discovery Institute: Objection to Intelligent Design — Universe Is Too Big, with Too Much “Wasted Space”. It was written by David Klinghoffer, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), who eagerly functions as their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. We’ll give you a few excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis.

Klinghoffer mentions an objection to the Discoveroids’ “theory” of intelligent design — that “the vastness of it all has led some skeptics to ask, why would God waste so much space on so few living creatures? Is this really a mark of intelligent design?”

That’s a good question. The universe described in the bible is a much more cozy arrangement, with the Earth created as the only world in existence, in the center of what seemed to be a rather limited universe, consisting of only the Sun and the Moon, with the stars as lights set in a presumably solid firmament rotating around us, just below the glorious realm of Yahweh, from which he could look down upon us and receive our adoration.

Klinghoffer responds to the problem of what seems to be a uselessly immense universe by telling us:

[A] vast universe is a key component in at least one line of argument for intelligent design. … [T]his argument points to the unique fitness of the universe and of our planet for upright bipeds like ourselves.

What? Does that make any sense? Klinghoffer explains:

The whole thing appears set up for us, and only for us. The vaster the cosmos, the more dramatically that point is underlined.

He claims that Michael Denton, a Discovery Institute “senior fellow,” has the answer:

Denton’s current focus is on the fitness of the universe for fire-using creatures like us. See the short documentary Fire-Maker. [Link in Klinghoffer’s post.]

We haven’t seen that “documentary,” so we may be at a disadvantage here, but we doubt it. Then Klinghoffer quotes from an earlier Discoveroid blog article — always a powerfully persuasive source — which says:

ID critics often end up playing the role of naïve theologian: What they “seem to want is a metric with The Human Body as God Would (or Should) Have Made It at one end of the measuring stick. … [C]ontemporary Darwinian evolutionary thinking borrows heavily from theology for its justification.” In this case it should be The Universe as God Would (or Should) Have Made It.

Yes, dear reader. When you suggest that the universe seems far too big for the concept of intelligent design, you’re behaving like a naïve theologian. That’s something the Discoveroids would never do. Let’s read on:

I’d want to ask [these critics], is it like going to the mall and looking for a pair of pants with the right waist and inseam measurements? 91 billion light-years is too big to be intelligently designed. Is there a size that would be too small? Just right?

Yeah — what’s the right size that the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — should have made the universe? You don’t have an answer, do you? This is the end of Klinghoffer’s post:

Merely to ask such questions is to see how absurd the contention is that the universe has too much “wasted space.”

In other words, whatever may be the size of the universe, that’s exactly the way the designer did it. Case closed.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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17 responses to “Klinghoffer: Why Is the Universe So Big?

  1. “The whole thing appears set up for us, and only for us. The vaster the cosmos building, the more dramatically that point is underlined.”
    Said the fly that landed on the White House.
    And that’s sound philosophy, not “Darwinian evolutionary thinking”. Of course Klinkleclapper couldn’t tell the difference were the life of his little kids at stake.

  2. Richard Bond

    91 billion light-years? Kilinghoffer has indulged, yet again, in the IDiots favourite exercise in mendacity in accepting one scientific discovery that suits their weird views while rejecting the consilient whole.

  3. Charles Deetz ;)

    I thought Klingy was going for a metaphor about the mall another way, something along the lines of:

    I went to the mall to get a pair of pants. Why have a mall? Why have 20 different stores selling pants? Why have different sizes and styles and colors of pants? Why have more than one of the exact type and size that I want?

  4. Is he saying that it is not possible to say whether one feature of the universe – its size – is designed?
    Can one follow the same reasoning about other features? Its age, for example?
    I’m just giving this a few moments of reflection, but I’my beginning to wonder whether it makes sense to ask about whether the universe is complex enough to tell us about being designed. Are there other features that we should bring up? Or, rather, that we should ignore?

  5. The Universe seems better suited for our pets than for humans. My dog neither walks bipedally nor uses fire, but depends on me to reach high things and keep her warm.

  6. The better suited things are, the less need for a designer.

  7. docbill1351

    Feynman has a way of making you feel really, really uncomfortable then draws you in with an engaging explanation.

    Here is Feynman on the question of Why?

  8. Denton’s current focus is on the fitness of the universe for fire-using creatures like us.
    Does Denton’s focus even make any sense? Fire using creatures, yes, we make campfires, I guess that’s an important criterion.
    Given the creationists bent for measuring exact sizes, I would think they’d use biblical references and denote the size of the universe in cubits.

  9. Unique for us?? Then he is saying he has traveled the entire universe and seen no other life???

  10. michaelfugate

    “This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, ‘This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!’ This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.”

    ― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

  11. Our little nano-sized piece of the universe is suitable for fire using creatures, at the present moment. In the carboniferous, with it’s high oxygen levels, it was even more suitable for fire – with dramatic results.

    For almost all of the rest of the earth’s history, it was not suitable for humans. Does Klink think that not only the vastness of the universe was made to create a tiny place for us, but also the vastness of time was created just to form a moment in which we could survive? Klink’s god should have been able to poof us into existence without all that trouble – and that’s the problem with ID.

    ID, if true, predicts a very strange designer.

  12. Eric Lipps

    For almost all of the rest of the earth’s history, it was not suitable for humans. Does Klink think that not only the vastness of the universe was made to create a tiny place for us, but also the vastness of time was created just to form a moment in which we could survive? Klink’s god should have been able to poof us into existence without all that trouble – and that’s the problem with ID.

    Of course, that’s not how young-earthers see it. As far as they’re concerned, the earth was “unsuitable for humans” for a mere five days at most.

  13. First of all, the universe has been expanding for 13.7 billion years. “A lot of empty space” shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone (except the YECs) on either side of this issue.

    After reading the first comment, I wondered how long it would take for someone here to offer up the ubiquitous thinking puddle; it was none other than my new friend michaelfugate who did the honors. It’s difficult to imagine a better example of bad science, bad logic and bad philosophy all wrapped up into one argument.

  14. I often get the feeling these Discoveroid articles are written when….

    “Oh, crap! Another deadline…time for another article…I haven’t a clue what to write…. OK, I’ll crank out something…duh….OK, here goes. Yeah, I know it’s [edited out], but if I throw in a bunch of extra words to make it sound super intellectual (like I did on my college papers thinking that would impress the professor and I thought that’s how smart people write…) and quote a bunch of other Discoveroids because that makes it sound really authoritative, well, no one will notice that it’s all just crap I came up with off the top of my head mixed with a heavy dose of convoluted phrasing, and everyone will think it’s brilliant. Yeah, that’s what they’ll think. Whew, another deadline m$t. Damn, I hate these article deadlines. Sure wish we had some real science evidence to write about. Oh well, not to worry, another deadline coming up soon, and I’m pretty good at cranking out this useless crap. Heh, heh, heh.”

  15. No response michaelfugate? Aren’t you going to defend your sleepy little puddle?

  16. “It’s difficult to imagine a better example of bad science, bad logic and bad philosophy all wrapped up into one argument.”

    I’m reluctant to say Intelligent Design fits the bill, if only because the Discovery Institute would have to undertake some sort of scientific research before its science could be classified as good or bad.

  17. The adherents of ID specialize in the kind of argument: “I can’t think of such-and-such, so it can’t be true. And if it isn’t true, ID must be true.” And that excuses them, not only from making a real argument for ID, but also from giving a positive description of ID.
    Condescension makes that stance just more ridiculous.