Michael asks, ” Hey Paul, When you have a chance, would you comment on the science being presented in the article? Thanks”
It’s a load of crap. Sorry if you are a fan of his work. “Doesn’t assuming that an intelligence created these perfect conditions require far less faith than believing that a life-sustaining Earth just happened to beat the inconceivable odds to come into being?” shows that he doesn’t understand science at all. Let me think about how to explain.
1. Science doesn’t “make the case” for anything. It explains what is, not any more than that. We are, the Earth is here. We have entirely adequate science to explain how life came to be, and why it evolves the way it does, and to explain how the Earth came to be.
2. “Isn’t it great that it’s perfect? God must have made it!” is a false application of logic. Benny Hill once said, “Isn’t it great that God put our ears in the right place to hold our glasses on?” It is certainly very unlikely that we are here, but that is not the same thing as requiring agency to make it so. We find ourselves in one of the very tiny volumes of space where life can thrive, because life that tried to thrive elsewhere didn’t make it. If you roll a bag of 1000 dice enough times, they will all come up 6s on a single roll. This man clearly does not understand, or want to understand, statistics.
3. Same thing for the Universe. Neat how all the physics works out. Well, for all we know, lots and lots of universes are made, and most of them don’t work. No way for us to know, because it doesn’t happen within our universe.
4. Is it possible that God set the Universe up, and set all the physics right, wound up the Big Bang and let it go? Yes. Science cannot tell you why the Big Bang happened, because all of matter and energy and space and time came into existence at the Big Bang, so there wasn’t a ‘before’. There’s nothing to measure, so there’s no way to know what caused it. We can tell you what happened right after the Big Bang, down to a tiny fraction of a second, but we can’t tell you why it happened. If it makes you happy to think of a guy “with a huge fuck-off beard” (as Eddie Izzard says) winding up the perfect toy and letting it go, then go ahead.
5. Faith is supposed to be about faith, non? You can’t take an evidence-based discipline and use it to support a faith-based position. Science can’t prove that God doesn’t exist, that’s not how it works. It also can’t prove that God does exist. But in either case, faith is about believing in things that are not provable, by definition. So science, the process of testing hypotheses to see if they are true in nature, and rejecting those that aren’t true, can only tell you about evidence, not about faith.
Michael: “Thanks. I did not realize the odds were so small for life to exist here, but “if you roll the dice enough…” When I was reading it, I was reminded of a statistics class I had taken in which the professor likened winning the lottery to predicting which blade of grass a golf ball will land on. The fact that odds are very slim, yet both will happen, doesn’t help me predict the winning number. Not sure if this is a good analogy…”
It’s a good analogy. The way Metaxas is calculating the odds is incorrect, also. He’s effectively saying, “The golf ball landed on this particular blade of grass! Isn’t that fantastic, given how many blades there are? What are the odds??!!??” Probability doesn’t work like that. Once an even has happened, it has happened. The odds of it having happened are now 100%, because it actually did happen.