This will make your day complete, dear reader. Yesterday we posted Six Arguments for Intelligent Design: Part 1, about what promised to be the first in a six-part series from the Discovery Institute. And it looks like we were right! This just popped up at their creationist blog: ID’s Top Six — The Fine-Tuning of the Universe. It has no author’s by-line.
We know what they’re going to say. We already debunked it in Common Creationist Claims Confuted under the heading “Anthropic Principle,” where (among other things) we said:
The Anthropic Principle — that the laws of nature and the fundamental physical constants seem remarkably suited to our own existence — is an interesting speculation; but as a scientific hypothesis pointing toward a Designer it’s a bit of a dead end because it’s utterly untestable. It shouldn’t surprise us that everything we discover about the universe is consistent with our existence — were it otherwise we wouldn’t exist. But it doesn’t follow that the universe exists for the purpose of our existence.
If the laws of nature actually were fine-tuned for life, then life is — by definition — a natural process, wholly in accord with the laws of nature, and everything can be figured out by the procedures of science. … Unfortunately for creationists, it obviates all the intelligent design or miraculous arguments for life.
Whenever the Anthropic Principle is mentioned, we find ourselves compelled to ask: What makes you think that without supernatural tinkering, the universe would have been different? How does one compute the odds against this specific universe? From where we sit, the odds favoring the universe seem to be 100%. Where is the evidence suggesting that this particular universe shouldn’t exist, or that its attributes should have been different from what they are?
Anyway, let’s find out what the Discoveroids have to tell us today. Here are some excerpts from their new post, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
The term “Big Bang” conjures images of an explosion, and usually when we think of an explosion we imagine a highly chaotic, stochastic event that destroys any order that is present rather than creating or preserving order. The Big Bang was not that kind of an “explosion.” It’s much better understood as a “finely tuned expansion event,” where all the matter and energy in the universe were expanding from an unimaginably high energy state. However, matching that energy was control and guidance through natural laws that were designed to produce a habitable universe, a home for life.
[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] The Big Bang was a “finely tuned expansion event” that was controlled and guided by “natural laws that were designed to produce a habitable universe.” And the Discoveroids have evidence! They say:
Consider some of the finely tuned factors that make our universe possible:
• If the strong nuclear force were slightly more powerful, then there would be no hydrogen, an essential element of life. If it was slightly weaker, then hydrogen would be the only element in existence.
• If the weak nuclear force were slightly different, then either there would not be enough helium to generate heavy elements in stars, or stars would burn out too quickly and supernova explosions could not scatter heavy elements across the universe.
• If the electromagnetic force were slightly stronger or weaker, atomic bonds, and thus complex molecules, could not form.
• If the value of the gravitational constant were slightly larger, one consequence would be that stars would become too hot and burn out too quickly. If it were smaller, stars would never burn at all and heavy elements would not be produced.
[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] It’s amazing! After that they tell us:
The finely tuned laws and constants of the universe are an example of specified complexity in nature. They are complex in that their values and settings are highly unlikely. They are specified in that they match the specific requirements needed for life.
Specified complexity! [*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] We’ve discussed that several times — see William Dembski’s Design Inference, and Wikipedia has an article on it: Specified complexity.
The Discoveroids continue:
The following gives a sense of the degree of fine-tuning that must go into some of these values to yield a life-friendly universe: [list of six physical constants — gravity, electromagnetic force, etc.] What all this shares is an incredible, astronomically precise, purposeful care and planning that went into the crafting of the laws and constants of the universe, gesturing unmistakably to intelligent design.
[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] The evidence is overwhelming! Let’s read on:
Some scientists respond, “Well, there must be an enormous number of universes and each one is a little different. This one just happened to turn out right.” That’s a postulate, and it’s a pretty fantastic postulate — it assumes there really are an enormous number of universes and that the laws could be different for each of them. One would like to get a look at the universe-generating machine responsible for this abundance. The other possibility is that our universe was planned, and that’s why it has come out so specially.
[*Groan*] That’s a classic false dichotomy — see The Multiverse or God-Did-It?
The Discoveroid post ends with a video from a creationist, which we haven’t looked at, so this is where we leave them — for today. Now we’ve seen the first two of the Discoveroids’ six arguments for intelligent design. We can’t wait to see the rest of them.
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