Class Warfare Blog

February 10, 2014

Stupid, Stupid, Stupid

A learned philosopher in the Opinionater Column of the New York Times dropped the “fine-tuning” argument for the existence of God. This was in response to a comment that about two thirds of philosophers were atheists, which was surprising to our learned philosoph, but not to yours truly. All of the philosophical and scientific arguments for the existence of god have been disproved, including the “fine tuning” argument.

For those of you who do not follow such things, the “fine tuning” argument is that all of the fundamental physical constants of our universe are such that if one were just a tiny bit different, we would not exist. So, the argument goes “it seems as if the universe were fine-tuned to allow for our existence” (and therefore God). Nobody seems to ever conclude “therefore immensely powerful aliens;” it is always “therefore God.”

Okay, let’s take this argument. What if one of those constants were different? Then we would not exist and we would not be having this discussion nor could we be aware that the universe then was not fine-tuned to our existence.

So, the argument breaks down to a probability argument, namely, “what is the probability that all of these fundamental constants were just the right value for us to exist?” Now we have something to get our teeth into. Realize that evolution doesn’t favor us. It doesn’t favor any species as it is a blind physical mechanism. For example, do you find it at all coincidental that our eyes are adapted to be most sensitive in the middle of the visible spectrum of light? Is this evidence of being designed?

If you think so, you don’t understand. Ask yourself “What is the visible spectrum” of light (aka electromagnetic radiation)?” The visible spectrum are those lights to which our eyes are sensitive. If we can’t see it, it ain’t “visible” light. There are huge swaths of other electromagnetic radiations available that could be used to see with. Most other mammals are red-green colorblind and deer and honeybees, as examples, see well into the ultraviolet segment of the spectrum, where we are blind. So, any “match” between the visible spectrum and our eyes means absolutely nothing as it is our distinction.

Many of these arguments (for the existence of gods) are similarly based and similarly flawed. The learned philosopher went on to tacitly agree with this and claimed that religious experiences are based, not on rational logic but upon personal experiences and that is where belief in god comes from. (Of course the title of the column was “Are Atheists Irrational?” when the point was to be theists are irrational. I know it was for marketing purposes, trying to attract people who think they are going to get a proof that atheists are irrational, but gee whiz!) He didn’t go on to explain how those personal experiences equated to beliefs in thousands and thousands of gods (Thor, Odin, Set, Hathor, Azuramazda, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, et. al.) along with beliefs in ghosts, witches, fairies, boogums, Big Foot, the Loch Ness monster, the grey aliens who abduct people and experiment upon them, the little people, etc. It seems that interpreting our inner experiences as religious ones is not at all a reliable process.

I suggest another: those people who could not experience awe – of nature, of others, etc. – did not have the persistence to stick it out when things got tough and didn’t survive to pass on their genes. So, we have all evolved a healthy sense of awe. I feel it every time I look out my front window (we have an awesome view). But it does not lead me to invent invisible beings who paint rainbows for my pleasure. It is a matter of being better adapted to where we are and where we are has a particular set of fundamental physical constants and if my species could not adapt to thrive under those conditions then another would or possibly none would. Nothing is inevitable, certainly not “us.”

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21 Comments »

  1. God is.

    Comment by formyfrog — February 10, 2014 @ 11:28 am | Reply

  2. Was this today’s OPED? I choose “Would you lie to me,” but after your review i’m pretty sure i wouldn’t have pushed this one out there, anyway. Who was the author?

    Comment by john zande — February 10, 2014 @ 11:37 am | Reply

    • sorry, that was “Would you lie for me”

      Comment by john zande — February 10, 2014 @ 11:37 am | Reply

      • Oh, I believed you, I just didn’t see it in my feed. Checking now and I see the problem: its not in my feed! I’m guessing Opinionater (Stone) must be a different section to the OpEd i get my stories from. Regardless, what a tosser. Still, the upshot here is such topics are breaking into the mainstream, and that can’t be a bad thing!

        Comment by john zande — February 10, 2014 @ 12:23 pm | Reply

        • I minored in philosophy in college and I was astonished that a reputable philosopher would use a scientific argument when he clearly did not understand the argument well enough. My favorite philosphy professor said it all with: in 4000 years philosophy hasn’t answered a single question, can’t even answer the question “what does ‘is good” mean?” Science, on the other hand, never answers questions absolutely, but offers provisional results which are accurate enough to affect myriad real outcomes.

          On Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 12:23 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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          Comment by stephenpruis — February 10, 2014 @ 12:29 pm | Reply

          • Steve,

            Your philosophy professor never studied Plato and Aristotle who gave great answers to the question, “What is good?”

            Atheists wander around all their lives in a hinterland of chaos and not knowing and spend a good deal of their time trying to drag entire societies down with them.

            Comment by silenceofmind — February 10, 2014 @ 12:35 pm | Reply

            • If Plato answered the question, why then did Aristotle? Or a horde of other ethicists also? The answer is that their definition was lacking, wasn’t good enough.

              And some societies might benefit from having their underpinings stripped away, no? Culture and tradition are the equivalent of “but we have always done it this way.” If we hewed to that, nothing new would ever get created.

              On Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 12:35 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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              Comment by stephenpruis — February 10, 2014 @ 1:10 pm | Reply

              • Steve,

                Aristotle answered the question, “What is good?” in his great work, “Ethics.”

                His critique of Plato’s “Republic” was also quite illuminating.

                But you folks don’t study the classics, do you.

                You just sit in echo chambers recycling the same Marxist hallucinations decade after decade.

                Comment by silenceofmind — February 10, 2014 @ 1:29 pm | Reply

                • You didn’t answer my question: if Plato answered the question satisfactorally, why did Aristotle bother with the question, or the other Greek philosophers? Once again you draw false conclusions. Why would you assume that we hadn’t read the classics? Have you read Popper or Kuhn or Gamov or Einstein or Heisenberg?

                  On Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 1:29 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                  Comment by stephenpruis — February 10, 2014 @ 2:11 pm | Reply

                  • Steve,

                    Plato and Aristotle had two very different views of reality.

                    But the saying, “there is more than one way to skin a cat,” is very relevant.

                    Comment by silenceofmind — February 10, 2014 @ 2:24 pm | Reply

                    • But you still aren’t answering the question. I claimed (or rather one of my teachers claimed) that in 4000 years philosphers hadn’t answered a single question, the obvious example being to define “is good.” You response was “Oh, yeah, Plato and Aristotle did!” My response was that if Plato’s answer had been good enough Aristotle wouldn’t have bothered answering the question himself. But he found Plato wanting, and then Hume found Arisotle wanting and . . . which is my point. They still have not satisfactorily answered the question.

                      On Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 2:24 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                      Comment by stephenpruis — February 10, 2014 @ 3:16 pm

                  • Steve,

                    Reality is multifaceted as we can see with the wave and particle theories of light, the Newtonian and Einsteinian laws of physics and quantum mechanics verses classical mechanics (Newton).

                    Although Aristotle ended up being the coin of the realm of Western Civilization, Plato’s forms have a lot to offer.

                    Comment by silenceofmind — February 10, 2014 @ 2:54 pm | Reply

          • Well said. I think this is why i have very little (to no) patience for philosophy… Especially Christian philosophy.

            Comment by john zande — February 10, 2014 @ 12:36 pm | Reply

            • John,

              Philosophy is the language of reason and so, is essential to critical thinking.

              Egg headed academics (aka leftist propagandists) confuse the issue so badly as to leave college graduates unable to gather their wits and think clearly.

              That’s so people in such a debilitated intellectual condition can be led around by the nose.

              Comment by silenceofmind — February 10, 2014 @ 3:02 pm | Reply

              • SOM, have you ever read “The Paradoxes of Darwinian Disorder: Towards an Ontological Reaffirmation of Order and Transcendence,” by Robert A. Maundy, College of the Holy Cross, Reno, Nevada?

                It explains, with devastating clarity, everything I feel about modern religious philosophy.

                Comment by john zande — February 10, 2014 @ 3:06 pm | Reply

                • Okay, I had to go read the article … a real howler! Objectively, not post-modernly.

                  Thanks for the laugh, John.

                  I gotta figure a way to get down to Brazil so I can buy you a drink.

                  On Mon, Feb 10, 2014 at 3:06 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

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                  Comment by stephenpruis — February 10, 2014 @ 3:21 pm | Reply

                  • Hadn’t you seen it before? I did a post on it. That, sir, is where the Christian philosopher has found himself; playing with a lexicon that they don’t even understand!

                    Comment by john zande — February 10, 2014 @ 3:33 pm | Reply

  3. Steve,

    The “fine tuning” argument has not been disproven by atheists, it has simply been denied by them.

    Denial is the first and final atheist argument to conclusive proof of anything.

    You have proven this yourself with your denial of the proofs showing that man-made global warming and ObamaCare scams, hoaxes.

    Atheists like cosmologist Stephen Hawking have gone nuts because they have discovered that the universe is indeed finely tuned.

    That’s why they respond with science fiction – the multiverse.

    Comment by silenceofmind — February 10, 2014 @ 11:49 am | Reply

    • Boring. You need to improve your rants.

      Comment by stephenpruis — February 10, 2014 @ 12:11 pm | Reply

      • Steve,

        “Foxnews,” “GOP talking points,” and “boring” aren’t arguments.

        They are rants.

        Comment by silenceofmind — February 10, 2014 @ 12:17 pm | Reply


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