Tuesday, August 19, 2008
The how doesn’t always lead to why.
This post was generated by a discussion from Dkos about the nature of superstition and its effect on politics in America.
I am an antitheist. I try to combat the ignorance of faith with rational argument whenever I encounter it. I feel we will never solve many of our problems as long as we live in a faith based society. I am aware that this puts me at odds with the vast majority of the populace but truth is not democratic. I do not claim to have a monopoly on truth but once something is falsified it is over for me.
Even though I live an unconventional life I am bound by convention. It inhibits my creativity and prevents me from reaching my full potential in some ways. I fall into habits from fear or laziness, I am not prepared to answer which. I think it is to some extent a function of my chronic depression.
These people trying to claim that the universe has been fine tuned for life are driving me to distraction today. It ignores the way in which life happens. These physicists are deliberately ignorant of evolution or so it would seem. They have this desire to make a, “God.” We do not like the world not to have meaning. We are not happy when there is a how but no why. We want a why and we want a complete story. I have heard it said that we are constantly making predictions about the world around us and that that was what intelligence was, making better predictions. . Science is about the what and the how not the why. The universe is not well suited for life. Most of the universe is unable to sustain any form of life. The very idea that it is fine tuned for life is on its face laughable. It took about 8 billion years for our little corner of the universe to get around to creating life. It seems that once the suitable conditions developed life evolved pretty quickly on earth. 300 million years after it first formed. It then took another 4 billion plus to get to what we call intelligence. We will probably never know exactly how it started as the data is not well preserved. We will also never know why other than the fact that the laws of physics permitted it to happen. If we ever find life elsewhere we may be able to conclude that these same laws required it to happen but until then that at least remains an open question.
Our present understanding of the formation of the solar system leads us to think that this type of formation has happened elsewhere many billions of times over. If that is true then the probability that we are unique is very low but it is not zero. As Fermi asked, “If the universe is full of intelligent beings where are they?” or words to that effect.
I have been looking further into Quantum mechanics of late, listening to some lectures and trying to learn the math. Uncertainty and probability waves appear to be the latest refuge of the sellers of superstition. God in the gaps allows for the industry of ignorance that is religion to continue to sell its idiocy to the uneducated. The god wads will say that the concept that life exists because the universe and the laws of physics allows for it is intellectually lazy. I say the idea that there is a creator is intellectually lazy in the extreme not the other way around. Biological fine tuning is an invention of the charlatans. It is encompassant on them to explain why it took 2/3 of the life of the universe to get to life if it so brilliantly fine tuned for the purpose of our existence. . We as humans have existed for .000000014% of the life of the universe. The fraction of space that we occupy is so small I would compare it to the space one electron takes up in your body. So the concept that an all-knowing all powerful being sucks that bad at creating a universe insults even my feeble intelligence.